Anas Sarwar has accused critics of Flower of Scotland of being "oversensitive."

The Scottish Labour leader said Scots should not be "shy" about the unofficial national anthem written by the late Corries frontman Roy Williamson in the mid-1960s.

READ MORE: Flower of Scotland is a 's***e' anthem - let's bin it for Euro 2024

Last week, Matthew Lindsay, The Herald’s chief football writer triggered a debate when he described the tune, which commemorates Robert The Bruce’s 1314 victory over English forces, as “s****”.

He wrote: “At a major sporting event, though, it just does not work. La Marseillaise or Deutschland Uber Alles it is not.

“It can actually kill the noise and excitement that has been generated around a ground.

“An anthem should get the blood pumping, not send you to sleep.”

He pointed to criticism of Flower of Scotland from former Scotland and British and Irish Lions coach Jim Telfer. 

Last year he suggested Scotland should have an anthem which “shows us standing for something rather than against something as a country."

That was backed by former Labour First Minister Jack McConnell.

“At last the movement for a proper national anthem begins,” he said.

“If Wales and other countries can sing something positive so can the Scots.”

The Herald: Andy Robertson, right, and Angus Gunn, centre, try to fire up their Scotland team mates during the

Asked if he thought Flower of Scotland should be sung by the Tartan Army at the Euros, Mr Sarwar said: “Why not? It's Scotland's anthem, we sing it loudly and proudly. We shouldn't be shy about it.”

He added: “We've got a culture, a heritage we should be proud of it. And I think too often when it comes to these things, people can take us down rabbit holes and be oversensitive.

“Let's just go enjoy the Euros, demonstrate that we'll be the best fans at the tournament. And let's hope we can be one of the best teams at the tournament as well.”

Asked if he was going to Germany for the tournament, Mr Sarwar said: "That's currently being negotiated with my children and my missus.

"If I get the slip from the family then I'll try my best to get to Germany."

Flower of Scotland became the official anthem of the Scotland rugby union team in 1990, the national football team in 1997 and the Commonwealth Games team in 2010. 

READ MORE: Scotland qualifiers consultation launched by Government

The Glasgow MSP also said he supports calls for Scotland’s matches to be on terrestrial TV.

On Monday, Humza Yousaf announced plans for a consultation on making the national football team's qualifying matches free-to-air.

While Scotland matches in major men’s and women’s tournaments are on part of Ofcom’s listed evens, meaning they are free-to-air, qualifiers are not.

UEFA holds the rights to these matches and they are often sold to the highest bidder.

Mr Sarwar said: "I believe we should have the principle of our international matches being shown on free-to-air television.

"The Euros is a good example. It's going to be on free-to-air television. There's going to be lots of people across Scotland watching, hopefully Scotland in the upset of all time beating Germany in the opening game of the championships on their own home turf.

"That's going to be a great advert for Scotland and actually having free-to-air matches is really important.

"It's something that I've spoken to the SFA about before.

"So the short answer is yes, we support that principle, but we have to make a more attractive package for those broadcaster to say: 'we want to have those matches on our free-to-air'."

With broadcasting being reserved, Mr Sarwar was asked if he had spoken to Sir Keir Starmer about it, he said: "On free-to-air football matches? No, I've not spoken to him about free-to-air football matches yet but I'll be sure to add it to my list."