"Flower of Scotland" (Scots: Flouer o Scotland, Scottish Gaelic: Flùr na h-Alba) is a Scottish song, frequently performed at special occasions and sporting events as an unofficial national anthem of Scotland.
The song was composed in the mid-1960s by Roy Williamson of the folk group the Corries. It was first heard publicly in a 1967 BBC television series. The words refer to the victory of the Scots, led by Robert the Bruce, over Edward II of England at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314. Although there is no official national anthem of Scotland, "Flower of Scotland" is one of a number of songs which are used, along with the older "Scotland the Brave".
The song was composed and is sung in English, typically with Scots pronunciation of a few words (e.g. "Tae" as opposed to "To").
The song has been used as an anthem by the Scotland rugby union team, ever since the winger, Billy Steele, encouraged his team-mates to sing it on the British Lions tour of South Africa in 1974. The song was adopted as the pre-game anthem for the deciding match of the 1990 Five Nations Championship between Scotland and England, which Scotland won 13-7 to win the Grand Slam. The Scottish Football Association adopted "Flower of Scotland" as its pre-game national anthem in 1997 although it was first used by them in 1993. Usually only the first and third verses are sung.
The song was sung at boxer Jim Watt's fights.
The song was used as the victory anthem of Team Scotland at the Commonwealth Games in 2010 replacing "Scotland the Brave". This trend continued to the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow where it was again Team Scotland's anthem and was sung following a Scottish gold medal. It was sung 4 times when Team Scotland won 4 gold medals in the opening day. This usage continued at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
The tune was originally composed on the Northumbrian smallpipes, which play in D and have the benefit of keys on the chanter to achieve a greater range of notes.
In July 2006, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra conducted an online poll (publicised by Reporting Scotland) in which voters could choose a national anthem from one of five candidates. 10,000 people took part in the poll in which Flower of Scotland came out the winner with 41% of the votes.
Scottish pirate metal band Alestorm have performed a cover of it live and recorded it, which is on their album Captain Morgan's Revenge. In addition, the Canadian Scottish-influenced Celtic Punk band The Real McKenzies have included the song on the album "Loch'd & Loaded" as well a staple in their live performance among many other traditional Scottish ballads.