A constituent nation of the United Kingdom, Scotland lacks an official, legislated “national song”; in fact there are several songs in use as “national songs” of Scotland. The one most often considered as the unofficial national anthem (and most often presented as Scotland’s anthem at sporting matches) is “Flower of Scotland”, written by Roy Williamson in 1965 for the popular folk group The Corries. It was first used in a sporting match in 1974 by the Scottish national rugby team in 1974, sung by the team. When the British “God Save the Queen” was sung before a rugby match in 1988 to represent Scotland, and was met by derision from the crowd, “Flower of Scotland” was adopted as Scotland’s pregame anthem. “Flower of Scotland”, however, has not been adopted in any official basis as the Scottish anthem.

Other popular “national songs” of Scotland have sometimes used as “unofficial national anthems”, the most common being “Scotland the Brave” (a traditional melody (sheet music) with lyrics writted by Cliff Hanley in 1950). “Scotland the Brave” was used as the Scottish anthem at the Commonwealth Games until 2010 (when it was replaced by “Flower of Scotland”) and is most commonly heard on the bagpipe, the Scottish national instrument.

When the Scottish Parliament was opened in 1997, another “national song” (“A Man’s A Man for A’ That” by national poet Robert Burns) was used, which isn’t usually presented as a Scottish anthem. The choice of this song may have been to duck the controversy of choosing one of the previously mentioned “national songs” as an official regional anthem, or by using “God Save the Queen” (the anthem of the United Kingdom, of which Scotland is a part).

Special thanks to: Calum Wyllie and Eugenio Pedro for some of this information.