THERE is as much chance of a player wearing rainbow laces during the World Cup’s opening game between Russia and Saudi Arabia than every last Scottish person getting behind England over the next few weeks.

Not all of us are so small-minded. Just the vast majority. I count myself among that sad number who will be delighted to see the Three Lions go out after three games. It’s utterly pathetic.

Jealousy is, of course, at the very core of this. If the World Cup is a party, then England are in the middle of the fun, drink in hand, chatting up someone. Scotland don’t even get an invite, as if we don’t deserve nice things.

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And therefore for many, when England inevitably are knocked out, it’s the highlight of the sporting summer.

It’s like when a better looking friend is in a relationship with someone you fancy and when they break up you have to pretend to be the bigger person and be sad for them when inside your soul is crying with relief.

What does it say about us as a supposedly confident and mature nation that, in 2018, we can’t bring ourselves to cheer our nearest neighbours in a sporting tournament?

For me, it says that while we north of the border folk appreciate The Beatles, Alan Bennet, William Shakespeare, Yorkshire pudding and Judy Dench: the little Englander attitude of their football people is just so annoying that even Ticket to Ride is totally forgotten about.

It was comedian Jack Docherty on the hugely under-rated show ‘Absolutely’ through his nationalist character McGlashan who blamed everything on the Sassenachs.

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“All men are alike,” he rants, “Australians, Tibetans, Chinese, Argentinians, French, Russians . . . except the bloody English.

“If Scotland existed for the next five million years, we would never, never, never invent someone like Emlyn Hughes.”

To be fair, there is point in there. Emlyn, of course, is no longer with us but there are many who could take his place in the sketch; that list being led by James Corden. 

Scotland, of course, has never once produced anyone annoying. If you don’t count Michael Gove, that Wings over Scotland guy and Michelle Mone. I could go on. And on.

McGlashan was a playwright and a gem of his, Travel in Time, told the tale of a Scottish person, obviously, who invented a time machine, goes back to 1965 and shoots Geoff Hurst.

It got a laugh then and it’s funny now because the joke is on the ridiculous anti-English guy spouting nonsense which many of us, if we are honest, can sort of see where he’s coming from. You don’t have to be a Yes voter to wish Gareth Southgate and his players the world of luck in Russia.

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We should really rise above this nationalist nonsense. Or is that beyond us? The answer to that question is C, Clive Tyldesley.

I won’t be supporting England. I just can’t bring myself to do this. Football is tribal and that means neighbours don’t support next door.

Ever. That’s the rule. The Highland Clearances have very little to do with it.

It’s a shame I am not more mature. I lived in England for three years and loved my time there. Some of my favourite people in the world hail from Newcastle, Manchester and, yes, even that London, and yet I cannot bring myself to hope my friends’ team win a World Cup which would give them one of the greatest moments in their lives.

Fellow columnist Robert McNeil yesterday wrote a splendid column about why he supports England, making a convincing and articulate case for his fellow Scots to take that well battered chip off of our shoulders and get behind Gareth and the boys.

I have met Southgate the English manager. He is a thoroughly decent chap, polite and friendly. If I were a better person it would mean I wanted him to do well.

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But the bit is in me. It’s called racism. 

Let’s not pretend otherwise. I so wish I had the character to cheer an England goal but I never have and never will.

I am not alone. Indeed, there are far more of my ilk than reasoned people. It would serve us right if England did go out, played well and won the thing. 

Of course, were that to happen, I would have to go back in time and shoot Harry Kane.