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Tuesday, 26 September, 2000, 09:42 GMT 10:42 UK
Scotland's Tartan Army revealed
A young Scottish fan
Is this the epitomé of "Scottishness"?
University research has shed light on the political, cultural and religious backgrounds of the football fans who make up Scotland's world-famous Tartan Army.

Information collected at the 1996 European championships shows that nearly half of those questioned supported the Scottish National Party.

And support for Scotland among Glasgow Rangers fans - traditionally the backbone of the Tartan Army - had waned considerably since the 1980s.

Football demonstrates that not everyone born in Scotland wants to be imagined as a Scot, or at least the same kind of Scot.

Dr Joseph Bradley
Dr Joseph Bradley, from the University of Stirling, who studied the results, said: "Overall, the evidence shows that, at least as far as football fans are concerned, there is no single idea of what 'Scottish' is and how it should be reflected or demonstrated."

The research found that 13% of fans supported Aberdeen FC while 10% followed Hibs and Hearts and four per cent Dundee United.

Nearly two in five said their political allegiances lay with the SNP.

Only seven per cent of fans attended church services ever week with 61% saying they never went.

Tartan Army
Three members of the Tartan Army
Dr Bradley noted: "One other significant finding of the survey was how few Catholics in the west of Scotland follow the Scotland team."

On the question of sectarian tolerance, many Scotland fans were "hostile to the Irish identities of Celtic supporters and the joint Scottish/British identities of Glasgow Rangers fans".

Dr Bradley said some supporters were more committed to Scotland than others.

"Football demonstrates that not everyone born in Scotland wants to be imagined as a Scot, or at least the same kind of Scot.

"The nature of Scottishness can very in relation to ethnicity, geography and religion among other influences.

"Tied up with these findings are issues concerned with definitions of national and cultural identity in Scotland.

"These questions are not particularly Scottish ones and have a global significance."

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See also:

04 Jun 00 | Scotland
Tartan Army goes soft on Sassenachs
18 Nov 99 | Battle of Britain
Cheers and tears for Scotland
16 Nov 99 | Battle of Britain
Suffering in the name of sport
19 Nov 99 | Battle of Britain
England claim the prize
08 Nov 99 | Battle of Britain
Great border skirmishes
24 Jun 98 | UK
Tartan Army on the retreat
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