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Peter McGunnigal: The Day I Lost Faith In Scotland

The day I lost fair in Scotland

In an article for Scotland Rugby News, Peter McGunnigal of Murrayfield Song explains when he lost faith in Scotland and what we, the supporters, can do to help the team.

Has Murrayfield lost its atmosphere?


[small_title title=”February 6th 2016, Row A, seat 114 South Stand, Murrayfield.”]

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]hat’s where I was when I completely lost faith. Not in the Scotland team who put in a strong spirited performance, not in Big Vern who has revolutionised the way we play, not even in the usual target for abuse (sometimes fairly, sometimes not), the SRU.

No, my loss of faith, I’m sorry to say, was in myself and my fellow Scotland supporters for making Murrayfield feel devoid of all positivity and belief.

Scotland huddle during the RBS Six Nations match between Scotland and…

Scotland huddle during the RBS Six Nations match between Scotland and England at Murrayfield Stadium on February 6, 2016 in Edinburgh, Scotland. Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images

The players are giving it their all, but are we the fans?

When the team were less than a score down with 10 mins to go, we should have cheered, we should have shouted, we should have screamed and sung with every ounce of age-old Scottish defiance we had to will our team to victory. Yet, short of the odd small pocket, we didn’t. We sat in silence demanding that Scotland win, that they prove us wrong.

I suppose it’s understandable considering our results over the past 15 years, but the tide is turning. I know narrow losses are still losses, but what they are is competitive and where we were before was embarrassing. Last time the red rose was in town they scored 20 without reply. On our last visit to Cardiff it ended 51-3. We are a long way from there now, this is a good team under a good coach, they have ability and they will learn to win

Dan Cole and George Kruis of England celebrate on the final whistle…

Dan Cole and George Kruis of England celebrate on the final whistle during the RBS Six Nations match between Scotland and England at Murrayfield Stadium on February 6, 2016 in Edinburgh, Scotland. Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images

It was a close game decided by small margins

We faced an England team in their most fragile mindset for a generation, we had the perfect opportunity to take our chance to get under their skin and reinforce our own boys with the belief that they could do it.

Instead, we sat meekly in silence, whilst “Swing Lo” did for the English exactly what we should have done for our boys. The most we could muster were a few boos when they sang. But that’s even worse than being silent. That means we’ve no reply but negativity. This was our home game, our home advantage. We should have drowned them out with our OWN songs.

England fans enjoy the prematch atmosphere before the RBS Six Nations…

England fans enjoy the prematch atmosphere before the RBS Six Nations match between Italy and England at Stadio Olimpico on February 14, 2016 in Rome, Italy. Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images

Where’s our passion gone?

The feeling walking back toward the city that night was 100 times worse than the 20-0 defeat, the shame burned.

I spent the rest of Saturday drowning my sorrows and Sunday with the fallout. Every journalist, pundit and fan with a Twitter account took a piece out of the team, the SRU and Stern Vern in the kind of sensationalist boom or bust reporting that has plagued our sport for years. The boos were rightfully condemned, but no one was saying publicly what I felt, namely that we let the team down when they needed us most. Home advantage at Murrayfield now officially meant nothing.

England’s flanker James Haskell leaves the pitch following the Six…

England’s flanker James Haskell leaves the pitch following the Six Nations international rugby union match between Scotland and England at Murrayfield in Edinburgh, Scotland on February 6, 2016…. Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images

We need to make Murrayfield intimidating to play at again

On Monday, still brooding, I decided I couldn’t possibly be the only one feeling this way and decided to do something. So, with that in mind, I created @Murrayfieldsong on Twitter as a persona that could express everything I was feeling and would reach out to others. I  wanted fans to remember how much of a difference we can make to the team.

Scotland France Tickets

The second part was to ask the Scottish rugby public which song they’d like to sing and try to get everyone to sing it together at our beloved Murrayfield for the next home game (which is against France this Sunday).

We’ve had hundreds of votes and the song overwhelmingly suggested by fans was the old classic ‘Loch Lomond’. It’s a song everyone knows and provides something extra on top of the national anthem.

Loch Lomand

Oh! Ye’ll take the high road, and I’ll take the low road,
And I’ll be in Scotland afore ye,
But me and my true love will never meet again,
On the bonnie, bonnie banks of Loch Lomond.

So MurrayfieldSong and Scotland Rugby News are asking you, the Scottish rugby public, to commit to joining us in singing two rounds of the chorus on the 22nd and 72nd minute of the game this Sunday.

I’m not claiming this will win us the game, but players often talk about the fans being the 16th man. With the crowd giving them that extra push against France this weekend, in what is expected to be a tight game, we could very well be the difference.

So whatever the score, will you join us in belting out this classic Scottish chorus to show your support for the lads?

Will you share this with everyone to help get the word out?

And will you stand up and sing for Scotland?

I hope so.


To find out more and get involved follow @MurrayfieldSong on Twitter.

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Scotland France Tickets


Written by Peter McGunnigal

A passionate Glaswegian and Scotland expert who likes nothing more than a good sing song. Also goes by the moniker Murrayfield Song - for obvious reasons.


What do you think?


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  1. Murrayfield always gave me goosebumps… Id love to hear the singing… and a good choice – Oh! Ye’ll take the high road, and I’ll take the low road,
    And I’ll be in Scotland afore ye,
    But me and my true love will never meet again,
    On the bonnie, bonnie banks of Loch Lomond.

    • As my first Scotland match I thought the atmosphere in Rome was great!! However I’ve recently been told that after the anthems are done and play gets underway, the players have said they don’t really hear the crowd. Whether that’s through them deliberately shutting it out or not I don’t know. I’m a big football fan and I can tell you the supporters are definitely the extra man. I’ve seen it so many times at Tynecastle!! So fingers crossed the Scotland fans can get our boys across the finish line this weekend. I only wish I could be there to help!!

  2. I think exchange is the key here. The fans sing, the team responds, the team has an exciting passage of play, the fans respond. It can’t be all one way. How many times have the supporters rallied behind the team and sang their hearts out, only to lose to another disappointing performance? Scotland lost to England because they played better than us, not because their fans sang louder. They didn’t make anywhere near as many handling errors, which have plagued us in this six nations so far

  3. I was there. I was stood up with my back to the match trying to get people to sing. Only a few stood a sung with Me.. There was no atmosphere at the match. Iam going on Sunday I hope all is different. We need to get behind Scotland once again

  4. This is great. Well done. I was at the game and was very disappointed by the “support” being at twikkers is a much better atmosphere. The Welsh are great where ever they go. Why not put a song sheet in the programme or on the seats and explain to people they can sit AND sing.

  5. I was there and was ashamed by the fans around me though it’s not the first time we’ve been outsung the booing was reprenensible!
    On the train home some young uns got on the train at Falkirk singing one after another to their next stop, some were upset by it but I fully supported their joy and beminded those who’d been at Murrayfield of their weak performance perfectly ready to fight over it. That might make me a hooligan but if our crowd sang like they do at football matches I’d take that!
    “We’ll be coming,
    We’ll be coming,
    We’ll be coming down the road,
    When you hear the noise of the Tartan Army boys,
    We’ll be coming down the road”

    • I started singing that at the England game a few times (west stand) and very few joined in – a packed Murrayfield singing that would be amazing as it’s upbeat and loud. I wrote something similar after the England game, so many fans booing swing low without using their voices to sing! I couldn’t talk for 2 days after the game

  6. I may never have been to Scotland but my family comes from Scotland so Scotland will always hold a special place in my heart. I am a proud Kiwi and a one eyed All Black supporter but the Blue of Scotland is in my veins

  7. Drop the ticket prices and you’d get a lot more fans in.
    You can whine that prices doesn’t matter to real fans, but truth is a lot of Scottish people simply can’t afford to shell out minimum £25 for every match, never mind the return train ticket price ontop of that. Shame.

  8. Could we also get people to sing the correct tune to Flower of Scotland? “Tae THINK again” goes down a full tone to the dominant seventh and not a semi tone to the Major seventh. The former is dark, moody and inspiring – the latter lightweight and “pretty”. It doesn’t help that our national instrument is incapable of playing our national anthem.

    Also, can we inform the military bands of other hosting nations that the song is not to be played like a Viennese waltz? It’s embarrassing. We’re not ballroom dancing!

    These things may seem trivial but the anthem is the leaping off point for the whole game – where we are one with the players, all focusing on the task ahead. Let’s give ourselves the start we deserve.

  9. Let’s give it a go Sunday! Get behind the team! The atmosphere has been disappointing the last few matches excluding flower of Scotland! No doubt Allez Les bleu with ring round Murrayfield so let’s compete with it!!

    • Ooft that’s bleak, win lose or draw I love my team my sport and my country I am well aware what it means to be a Scotland fan that we will always lose more than we win. I may be deluded but I am richer not poorer for the experience

  10. Utter bollocks. The players should be inspiring the fans not vice Versa. I drove a 900 mile round trip and now, apparently, the loss was partly my responsibility. I was at Twickenham for the RWC QF, shall I take that one onboard too?

    • Peter McGunnigal , after I wrote that I reflected a bit more on what you’d said. I still think it’s a mutual thing, the players can inspire the crowd and vice Versa. But having watched Scotland home and away (and most away matches are easier for me to get to) for 40 + years I occasionally need my inspiration to come from the pitch.
      However I do find the negativity you refer to very dispiriting. I’d far rather hear Swing Low drowned out by a few verses of something Scots than the dreary boos I often hear.
      In which case, I wholeheartedly agree with you. Let’s be loud and proud of our Nation, cut out the negativity and support our team.

  11. Murrayfield these days has always been devoid of atmosphere. The football song “you only sing when you’re winning” pretty much sums up the Murrayfield crowd. It’s really is a bit pathetic to be asking the crowd to sing a particular song at a stage managed time. Singing should be from the heart and soul and not because some guy thinks we should all sing when he wants us to. I’d suggest that a lot of the crowd should get along to a game at Hampden and take inspiration from there.

    • Danny I’d love there to be singing non stop from start to finish but that’s a massive leap. Set 2 times to make it really easy for everyone to get involved but at the same time encouraging everyone to sing when they want throughout the game. Hope to hear you on Sunday #AsOne

  12. I don’t agree.Our tickets cost £90 each,we sang our hearts out,and felt totally let down by a poor Scotland performance.They should be inspiring us to sing and cheer.An error strewn performance against a very mediocre English team.I am never going to Murrayfield again.

    • I knew writing this not everyone would feel the same as me Dorothy I just hoped to inspire some positive feeling in Murrayfield. Thanks for taking the time to read. I hope you change your mind I’ve had my heart broken many times at Murrayfield but I always come back

  13. As long as the current CEO remains in post the current trend of an underperforming National rugby team will continue. To be ranked 11th in the world is disgusting yet the whole senior management of the SRU remain. Dodson has only managed to achieve one of the five main objectives he set since he presented them in 2012. This is not a performance worthy of his position or renumeration! Yet he remains, with the board powerless to act as its the tail wagging the dog !!
    We need a NZRFU type reorganisation where the whole senior management were removed and proven personnel appointed. A good team us not just about players but also about quality support staff and structure. Non of which is present in the higher echelon of the SRU . Time for major change .

    • Honestly not qualified to speak on any of that. As a fan who pays attention to only the teams not the organisation I see an improvement in the national team from the organisation of a world class coaching team, I see Glasgow pushing the boundaries domestically, the academies developing some great young talent at U20 and a positive outlook. I also see that if I was an Edinburgh fan which I’m not that I would feel underinvested as a Glasgow fan I worry about our departing talent and how we address it.

  14. With you on that one Rhuaraidh Kieran, because there no sizeable pockets of supporters who are willing to join in an instigate vocal support, only wee cliques of corporate hangers-on who have never touched a rugby ball in their lives, let alone played, and are there only to say they have been,regardless of the outcome. Don’t think that will change any time soon, sadly.

  15. I’ve been saying for the past few years that the crowd at Murrayfield needs to raise their voices and support the boys no matter what; just like used to happen in the days when the Hastings used to play. As others on here have suggested, could there be a connection between ticket prices, corporate packages & silent crowds? I think so. I for one can’t afford to go support our boys with my family so have to sit at home and watch on the telly. Perhaps that’s where the majority of noisy passionate fans are? Thankfully there are little pockets of passionate, noisy fans who can afford the ticket prices and every so often you can hear Scottish songs being sung at Murrayfield and if others join in so the volume increases, you can see the change in our boys on the pitch. Their pride and passion gets a boost and they rise to the occasion; not always ending in a try but at least giving us something to cheer about. C’mon you noisy fans, lets raise our voices in song and get behind our team!!

  16. So agree with you Peter McGunnigal. Sourrounded by Scottish fans at the Scotland V England I was so disappointed when my my 13 year old son (born in England but an avid Scotland Fan) tried to muster up O Flower of Scotland and no one but his Mum & Dad joined in. He kept it going but not being the best singer in the world got some funny looks. Every time an opposing nation sings we should be equally vocal in support of our beloved Scotland. They are the most inspiring team in decades and deserve our support. Think of them as a child who needs to know they are loved and adored and great things could happen!!

  17. Move to Glasgow, the atmosphere at Scotstoun is way better the dirge of Edinburgh Rugby. So get rid of Murrayfield and build a new football & Rugby stadium in Glasgow. I even remember Edinburgh Fans complaining in the Scotsman one year about it being to noisy. Go and eat your prawn sandwiches elsewhere.

  18. Yes Merci! trop sympa ces espadrilles !!!et je propose d&u2187;aille#rs les apéros de l’été au Rosa bonheur des buttes chaumont à tous les espadrillés: idée à lancer pourqouoi pas???la bise

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  21. o que fizeste no ciclismo ta feito e bem feito mas agora so te estas a emvergonhar estas provas nao sao pçara ti e como meter uma rapoza no galinheiro deixa os masteres com eles andas a mais e no citouclrismo atao e que e sai fora so te fica mal

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