In the admittedly unlikely event that Scotland goes independent what impact on Scotttish sport would ensue? Alex Salmoond opposed the Scottish participation in the last Olympics when Chris Hoy and Andy Murray, arguably their two finest sportsmen, admitted they need the resources south of the border to develop their career. I have a Scottish friend who at Glasgow university was an outstanding 800m athlete, so much so that she was mentored in England by Dame Kelly Holmes.
On the level of perception and support I have identified with various Scottish sportsmen over the years. I once wrote for a cult boxing magazine called Round One. I rated Ken Buchanan as ‘our’ finest post-war fighter for winning his title overseas in Panama against Ismael Laguna. After Celtic won the European Cup in 1967, the first British side to do so, I followed the Hoops for many years and still do. Is it a coincidence that Scotland flourished more when the likes of Hansen and Dalglish followed the Liverpool Caledonian traditions of Ian St John and Tommy Lawrence. Scottish football is in a dire state and I can’t see how independence would improve the situation. Would the Open be played on those wonderful links courses of Muirfield, St Andrews and Carnoustie?
One should not underestimate the national unison that sport can generate. Think of South Africa. A proud sporting nation was ostracised in the apartheid era. One of their greatest sporting moments has to be Mandela in his Springbok shirt, rugby being the sport of the white nationalist supremacists, embracing skipper Francois Pienaar prior to the Rugby World Cup final. I would argue this did as much an anything to unite the country. I fear that should Scotland take the independent route the consequences will be the converse.