National anthem of Scotland

A number of songs are used as Scottish anthems, most notably "Flower of Scotland" and "Scotland the Brave".

Proposed national anthems of Scotland
Auld Lang Syne
Flower of Scotland
Highland Cathedral
Is There For Honest Poverty
Scotland the Brave
Scots Wha Hae
The Thistle o' Scotland

National anthem of  Scotland

In 2004, lawyers for the devolved Scottish Parliament advised that it was within the legal competence of the Scottish Parliament to choose a national anthem for Scotland, countering the suggestion that it would be a matter reserved to the Parliament of the United Kingdom.[1] This ruling prompted some interest in the idea, and a petition to the Scottish Parliament's petitions committee supported by the Scottish Green Party was referred without recommendation to the Scottish Executive, but they decided to take no action, considering the issue not to be a political priority.[2][3] There have been subsequent attempts to re-open the debate on a national anthem for Scotland.[4]

Current use

At most international sporting events Scotland uses "Flower of Scotland" as its national anthem. These events include matches of the Scottish national football team and the Scottish rugby union team.[5] The song has also been used as the victory anthem of Scotland at the Commonwealth Games since 2010, replacing "Scotland the Brave".[6]

Possible candidates

In June 2006 the Royal Scottish National Orchestra conducted an online opinion poll on their website, asking visitors to choose a favourite to be Scotland's national anthem. With over 10,000 votes cast, Flower of Scotland came first with 41% of the votes, followed by Scotland the Brave with 29%.[7]

Tune Votes (%)
Flower of Scotland 41%
Scotland the Brave 29%
Highland Cathedral 16%
A Man's A Man for A' That 7%
Scots Wha Hae 6%

Other songs which have been suggested include Robert Burns' Auld Lang Syne,[8] and Hamish Henderson's Freedom Come-All-Ye.[9] Both of these songs, from the 18th and 20th centuries respectively, are written in Lowland Scots. Another suggestion is The Thistle o' Scotland published in 1902. It was originally written in Scottish Gaelic but translated into Lowland Scots.[10]

Future discussion

Despite coverage by The Scotsman newspaper, the Scottish Parliament has yet to convene any parliamentary debate on the issue, with Holyrood's Enterprise Committee denying a motion from Scottish National Party MSP Michael Matheson on the subject.[11] In an attempt to add breadth to the discussion, Edinburgh musician Bob Murray first presented a one-man show on the subject at The Scottish Storytelling Centre in May 2015, and now performs it from time to time at various venues.[12]


  1. Macdonell, Hamish (10 November 2004). "Scots win right to choose own national anthem". The Scotsman. Edinburgh.
  2. "Anthem demand falls on deaf ears". BBC News. 24 November 2004. Retrieved 19 May 2010.
  3. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-06-05. Retrieved 2010-05-09.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. "Anthem debate call hits flat note". BBC News. 9 May 2006. Retrieved 19 May 2010.
  5. BBC News - McConnell calls for anthem debate
  6. "Games team picks new Scots anthem". BBC News. 9 January 2010. Retrieved 19 May 2010.
  7. RSNO poll reveals Flower of Scotland as nation’s favourite ‘anthem’ Archived 2009-02-15 at the Wayback Machine,
  8. Dalgarno, Paul (2 July 2006). "Nation picks Flower Of Scotland as top anthem SONG CONTEST: OLD". The Sunday Herald.
  9. English, Shirley (30 October 2003). "It may be a dirge but its still our anthem say Scottish MPs". The Times. London. Retrieved 19 May 2010.
  10. A rendition of this song can be heard here:
  11. "RSNO sounds out a song for Scotland", The Scotsman, 24 May 2006
  12. Shop, Robert Murray Stamp. "Bob Murray, Edinburgh". Retrieved 2018-03-11.