IN every article written about the poor performance of the Scottish XV against Ireland in the opening match of their World Cup ("Scotland picked apart in disastrous opener", Herald Sport, September 23), players and coaches are reported as saying they don't understand what went wrong.

May I suggest that they look at the television footage of the players while lined up for Flower of Scotland. At least three were in tears. It is perfectly excusable for supporters of Scotland to weep when they hear that execrable dirge. But that tune is simply not acceptable as an anthem if it has that peculiar effect on the players prior to kick-off. The coaches need look no further; but, please, do at least supply the team with handkerchiefs.

Ian HC Stein, Dunblane.