SCOTLAND’S First Minister has impeccable manners. Meeting the Queen at the Palace of Holyroodhouse on Tuesday, Nicola Sturgeon played all the right notes in the right order. There was no bow or curtsey, very modern, and the small talk was faultless.

It is very nice to be back again, said the Queen. It is lovely to have you back here, said the First Minister. Not exactly dialogue destined to one day make it into an episode of The Crown, but it keeps the wheels of diplomacy rolling.

Ms Sturgeon was not done yet with her etiquette to do list. There was the small matter of something happening at Wembley. She duly tweeted: “Congratulations England. Still just one team unbeaten by England so far in Euro 2020.” The message was followed by a smiley face emoji with a cheeky wink, and a Saltire. In the Commons yesterday, SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford served up more jagged congratulations. “[England] have done well. They've won most of their matches with the exception of the game against Scotland where of course they even failed to score a goal. Nae luck."

Someone from the North East of England replied to Ms Sturgeon: “Is Scotland’s biggest achievement managing a 0-0 draw against England? What a horrible mentality.”

Oh, Mr North East, you fail to take the joke. It is okay for Scottish nationalists, for Scots in general, to be mildly sarky, even withering, about an England victory. It is in the rules. Granted, you won’t find these regulations set down in any particular place, but their existence is real to many. Yes, just like Santa Claus.

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Scots have the right to greet an England triumph with a groan because experience dictates we will never hear the end of it. Take a certain World Cup victory 55 years ago. There is surely a survey somewhere showing that the average Scot is more likely to take a trip on a UFO than get through a given period of time without mention of 1966.

It is mentioned a lot, particularly when the sporting opponent is Germany, as could be seen on the front pages in England the morning after the victory before. The Daily Star acknowledged this with different wordings in its “Thought for the Day” spot. The English edition had: “Remember the date because we will still be talking about it in 55 years”, while the Scottish one said: “Remember the date because we’ll still be hearing about it in 55 years.”

Between now and Saturday in Rome one can almost guarantee that there will be almost as much, if not more, coverage of England v Ukraine than there is of Covid-19. Viewers and listeners in Scotland, as in Wales and Northern Ireland, will just have to grin and bear it. Again.

There is another reason why Scotland can claim rights to eye- rolling and sighing when England win. This one is a bit trickier. When it comes to nationalism, you see, Scotland is the proud owner of as copper-bottomed a set of double standards as you are likely to encounter.

Scottish nationalism is not the same as English nationalism, or any other country’s nationalism. We take the best bits of nationalism and patriotism and blend them together to make one wholesome smoothie. When we hoist the Saltire it is a joyous expression of the pride we feel in our country. But eyebrows are raised if someone does the same in England with the flag of St George, particularly if they have a white van in the driveway. Remember that picture tweeted by Labour MP Emily Thornberry during a by-election in 2014, the one she had to apologise for and resign over?

The resident, who had put the flags up during the World Cup, called Ms Thornberry a “snob”. He had a point. Egalitarian as we are in Scotland, there is a tendency among some to take what you might call an English middle class view of English nationalism. This holds that while Scottish nationalism is modern, progressive and inclusive and led by a smart, go-ahead woman who reminds you of New Zealand premier Jacinda Ardern, English nationalism is fusty, narrow-minded, reactionary and punted by blokes called Nigel.

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Another example of double standards? When a Scottish politician sticks up for Scotland it is the right and proper thing to do. When a politician in England does likewise their motives are questioned. See the recent spat between Scotland’s First Minister and Andy Burnham, mayor of Greater Manchester. When the Scottish Government announced a ban on travelling to and from Mr Burnham’s patch he was at first puzzled: there had been no warning. Then he was incensed: transmission rates were higher in parts of Scotland yet there was no ban imposed.

He felt the Scottish Government was acting in the same high-handed manner it accused London of adopting. Ms Sturgeon reacted by accusing him of using Scotland to further his chances in any future Labour leadership contest.

Most of the restrictions were lifted by the Scottish Government on Tuesday, the same day, coincidentally, as the England-Germany game. So we are all chums again. Would we ever be pally enough, however, to go that ultimate extra mile and cheer England on?

Like the Scotland squad, there is a lot to like about this young band of English players. Take just one of them, Marcus Rashford. Age 23, he has done more to tackle child poverty in England in one year than some Ministers achieve in an entire parliament (assuming they make progress at all). When he speaks, Boris Johnson is forced to listen, and children who would otherwise go hungry are fed. I’ll applaud that any day.

Or consider this. Given the mini invasion of London staged by Scotland fans, the one that led to a spike in Covid-cases here and presumably there, you might say we owed it to England to at least wish them well.

If that still seems too much to ask, we could settle for benign indifference. Some are already ahead of the game. When I collected my car from the garage on Tuesday I asked what the score was in the England game (see me, see banter). “No idea,” came the reply. “Been too busy to watch.”

Modern Scotland, busy minding its own business, able to look at England as just another team doing its best to win a tournament. No politics, no history, no baggage. That seems like a win.