The Saturday edition of The National depicted Roberto Mancini as Scottish national hero William Wallace, who triumphed over the English in the late-13th century. Its headline pleaded with Italy’s coach to lead his team to victory in order to avoid another 55 years of the English “banging on” about an international tournament victory.
The front page quickly attracted fury from many proud Scots who said it was making their country seem “small-minded”.
Freelance writer James Melville shared a picture of the paper and tweeted: “I am a proud Scot. But the front page of The National is embarrassing.
“I will be supporting England when they play Italy.”
Many backed his stance and quickly aired their views on social media.
“I thought The National would be above this, whoever we choose to support.
“It’s stuff like this that puts ‘English Scots’ off independence.”
Meanwhile a third mused: “Ironically, were it Scotland playing Italy, I and most English people I know would be rooting for Scotland.”
A fourth raged: “I really have to say this front page just makes Scotland look petty and small-minded.”
Others saw the funny side, but still claimed that the joke could whip-up anti-English sentiment.
One wrote: “I understand Scotland not supporting England, you can’t really expect them to.
“But it’s ridiculous how far the Scottish press will go to spread hate and division just to get Scotland out (of) the union.”
The news emerged shortly after Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was mercilessly mocked for her deafening silence following England’s victory over Germany in the last 16.
The SNP leader has always vocally backed Scottish national teams in whatever sport they have enjoyed success.
But the fervent nationalist – who has vowed to hold another referendum on Scottish independence in the current parliamentary period – remained silent on England’s victory.
Picking up on this, one Twitter user superimposed her face painted with the St George’s Cross and singing “Simply the Best” by Tina Turner.
Author: Oliver Pritchard-Jones
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