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Oh no: on the football field, Better Together produce a 5-4 result

Never mind the polls, when it comes down to settling a Scottish political debate we can always resort to our favourite pastime: a football penalty shoot-out.

Ruth Davidson
Ruth Davidson. Pictures by Gordon Terris

The competing tribes in the independence referendum came together for a rare show of unity as the final two weeks of campaigning began today.

Yes Scotland and Better Together made temporary allies to support the "Scotland United Against Motor Neuron Disease" campaign at Spartans' ground in Edinburgh.

And, in what may - or just as well may not - be a foretaste of what's to come on Sptember 18, Better Together pulled off a 5-4 win...and Yes Scotland chief executive Blair Jenkins missed his team's final kick.

Yes Scotland were first to take to the spot, with an assured finish from Paul Brannigan, star of Ken Loach's The Angels' Share.

Things were evenly matched until John Park, assistant general secretary of trade union Community, , pulled off a save to his right from Blair Jenkins' spot kick.

Among BT's successful scorers were Tory leader Ruth Davidson and Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander.

Better Together's director of research, Gordon Aikman, was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease just over 12 weeks ago and has already raised over £60,000 and launched www.gordonsfightback.com - a campaign to fund a cure and fight for better care for MND sufferers. People can also donate to the campaign by texting "MNDS85 £5" to 70070.

Mr Aikman said: "I want to thank both Better Together and Yes Scotland for coming together and taking part in the shoot-out. Spartans Community Football Academy have also been amazing in helping with hosting the event.

"It's not often that you get the two sides of the referendum agreeing on something so it means a lot that they stand united today to help fund a cure for Motor Neurone Disease. It shows that no matter what your politics, Scotland is united against MND. MND is a death sentence for me, but if we keep raising money we can find a cure for future generations."

Paul Brannigan said: "It was a good game and well done to everyone who stepped up to the penalty spot.

"Whatever the scoreboard says, all of us have sent a clear message today that there are some things that go beyond politics that we can we all unite behind.

"Gordon's story both shocks and inspires us. His courage and determination to fund a cure for future generations deserves everyone's support. Please show your support and donate whatever you can to make MND a thing of the past.

The penalty takers in order:

YES SCOTLAND

Paul Brannigan (star of the Angels' Share)

Gary Cocker (activist)

Stuart McDonald (activist)

Blair Jenkins (chief executive of Yes Scotland)

Dominic Hinde (activist who was both player and goalkeeper)

BETTER TOGETHER

Douglas Alexander (Labour's shadow foreign secretary)

Ruth Davidson (Scottish Conservative leader)

Ken MacIntosh (Labour MSP)

Aislinn Robbie (activist)

Ben Carroll (activist)

Goalkeeper: John Park (assistant general secretary of Community Trade Union)

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