Scotland the Brave

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Alba an Àigh
English: Scotland the Brave
Scotland the Brave.jpg

Unofficial anthem of  Scotland
LyricsCliff Hanley (unofficial), 1950
MusicUnknown composer
Audio sample
"Scotland the Brave" (instrumental)

"Scotland the Brave" (Scottish Gaelic: Alba an Àigh) is a Scottish patriotic song, one of three often considered an unofficial Scottish national anthem (the others being "Flower of Scotland", and "Scots Wha Hae").


The tune probably originated in the late 19th century.[1] The earliest known printing of the tune was in the Utah Musical Bouquet, January 1878, and the earliest known version printed in Scotland is in The National Choir, 1891.[2]

The lyrics commonly used now were written about 1950 by Scottish journalist Clifford Leonard Clark "Cliff" Hanley for singer Robert Wilson as part of an arrangement by Marion McClurg. Another set of lyrics also often heard were sung by Canadian singer John Charles McDermott; they are closely based on the poem "Let Italy Boast" by James Hyslop, which was first published in 1821 in The Edinburgh Magazine. However, Hyslop intended his poem to be sung to the melody of Sir Walter Scott of Abbotsford, 1st Baronet's "Boat Song" from "The Lady of the Lake" and not "Scotland the Brave".

"Scotland the Brave" is also the authorised pipe band march of the British Columbia Dragoons of the Canadian Armed Forces.[3]

"Scotland the Brave" was played before matches involving the Scotland national football team at the 1982, 1986, and 1990 FIFA World Cups.[4][5][6][7] "Flower of Scotland" was subsequently adopted by Scotland for use at FIFA-sponsored events, after its usage by the Scottish rugby union team.[7]

In June 2006, the song rated second in an online poll with more than 10,000 votes to determine Scotland's favourite unofficial anthem, losing only to "Flower of Scotland".[8] The song was used to represent Scotland in the Commonwealth Games until it was replaced by "Flower of Scotland" from the 2010 games onwards.[9]

In popular culture[edit]


  2. ^ "Praise to the Man".
  3. ^ Canadian Forces webpage. Retrieved 25 January 2013
  4. ^ "Scotland vs Denmark 1986".[dead link]
  5. ^ "URSS vs Scotland 1982". Archived from the original on 23 April 2020.
  6. ^ Hamilton, Fiona (7 February 2010). "Margaret Thatcher feared the Scotland the Brave anthem". The Sunday Times. London.
  7. ^ a b Mills, Rod (3 February 2010). "Thatcher was terrified by Scotland the Brave". Daily Express. Northern and Shell Media Publications. Retrieved 16 September 2013.
  8. ^ The Royal Scottish National Orchestra – Stéphane Denève (Music Director) – The RSNO National Anthem Poll Winner Archived 15 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ "Games team picks new Scots anthem". BBC News. 9 January 2010.
  10. ^ Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine: Iain40 (4 October 2006). "The Corries Scotland The Brave (humorous)" – via YouTube.
  11. ^ Rapier, Multimedia. "ITV Grampian television ident compilation". Archived from the original on 17 October 2015. Retrieved 29 January 2015 – via YouTube.