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How is the Scottish independen...
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How is the Scottish independence debate impacting on sport?

Off The Ball
Off The Ball

21:07 10 Sep 2014

On Thursday September 18th, the citizens of Scotland will decide whether they will take the opportunity to become an independent nation or remain in the United Kingdom.

With the 'Yes' and 'No' sides neck and neck, the vote could go either way and although Scotland already appears as a separate nation when it comes to team sports like soccer and rugby, independence will have an impact on sports in general.

To talk about the changes and how the debate is swirling within Scottish sporting circles, we were joined on the line by The Scottish Herald's Hugh MacDonald.

The dead heat between both sides is reflected by the split between Scottish sporting personalities and entities according to MacDonald.

But while Glasgow Celtic and its support base is perceived to be in the 'Yes' camp, MacDonald highlighted the naunces:

"There's a strong feeling among some people in the Celtic board that a 'Yes' vote would consign to damnation any move ever for a British league," he said, although anecdotally Celtic fans seem to be pro-independence.

MacDonald also explained why he feels nationalism in sport has become "diluted on this side of the water" in competition with club teams and changing ideas of nationhood.  

The 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow were also generally kept out of the independence debate by both sides according to MacDonald.

"I thought Alex Salmond played it really cannily in that. He could have come in waving his flag like he did at Wimbledon with Andy Murray which was a really gauche move - and a very un-Salmond-like move actually. That was a real misstep and I think he learned from that," said MacDonald, who also focused on the warm reception reaction to England at those Games in a bid to make it "all inclusive". 

MacDonald has also noted a reticence from the No side, whereas 'Yes' voters appear "loud and proud".

In terms of Scotland's leading sports personalities, Andy Murray has been "cryptic" about his opinions and MacDonald does not blame him for keeping his views to himself, whereas Alex Ferguson has been a vocal in his belief that Scotland should remain part of the UK.

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