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Friday, October 15, 1999 Published at 19:15 GMT 20:15 UK

UK: Scotland

Papers attacked over Auld Enemy frenzy

Scottish tabloids are under fire for the tone of their reporting

The tabloid press in Scotland has been criticised for the extremity of its reporting in the build-up to November's Euro 2000 play-off against England.

BBC Scotland's Leslie Anderson reports on the row
Canon Kenyon Wright, one of the most prominent campaigners for a Scottish Parliament, singled out the Daily Record for particular criticism.

Since the draw brought the two old rivals together, the Record has devoted seven pages each day to the story, targeting England manager Kevin Keegan for his confident comments following the draw.

'National identity'

Headlines such as "1-0 to the Tartan Army" and "Here is the first English B*****d" have provoked further denunciations of tabloid journalism.

[ image: Kenyon Wright attacks coverage]
Kenyon Wright attacks coverage
Canon Wright said: "It isn't really funny. I'm all for national identity, I believe very much in a national identity for Scotland, but one which does not run down anyone else's sense of nationhood."

A front page "cut-out poster" of Keegan on the front of Thursday's Daily Record, suggesting he would be made to eat his words, was one example of anti-Englishness cited by critics.

The Scottish National Party's Business Manager, Mike Russell MSP said he believed most people would find the fanatical coverage "daft".

"Ultimately, it will only further damage journalism," he added.

"I think the sensible thing to do is get behind the team, to want the team to win, make sure we have a bit of fun.

Commercial interest

"But we certainly don't want to get hysterical about it and not in the base commercial interest of selling a few more tabloid newspapers."

Scottish Sports Minister Sam Galbraith echoed those sentiments, acknowledging that most of Scotland was likely to be very excited about the prospect of playing England.

He said: "There'll be lots of things said, plenty banter, but let's remember to keep it good natured, it's only a game."

A Daily Record spokesman said: "Everything so far has been in good humour and reflects the mood in the streets."

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