ENGLAND teams would get less of a reaction if they stopped singing God Save the King and changed their anthem, an MP has claimed, as he insisted Ally McCoist “overreacted” to Scottish fans booing the song at Hampden Park.

The Tartan Army were condemned by ex-player Ally McCoist after they drowned out the visitors anthem ahead of a friendly match between Scotland and England on Tuesday night.

McCoist said fans were “out of order” and should have had more respect, suggesting “SNP fans” might have been to blame.

But SNP MP Tommy Sheppard said there is a deeper problem with God Save the King being used as the English national anthem, given its political connotations while attitudes towards the monarchy are rapidly changing right across the UK.

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He told The National: “There has always been antagonism and rivalry between Scotland and England fans and this not the first time God Save the King has been booed. It is part and parcel of these fixtures. Ally McCoist is totally overreacting.

“God Save the King is a controversial, political song, particularly in Scotland. It does divide people more than it brings them together and I think if England had a different anthem, I do not think there would be the same level of reaction.

“I do think the English fans can’t have been singing with full gusto given it was drowned out and that’s because the anthem is problematic. I think the monarchy is less popular then it was and people are questioning if it’s fit for purpose. There’s less subservience on the issue than there was. It’s a sign of the times.

“I do think more English fans would be singing the anthem if it was not God Save the King.”

Anti-monarchy campaign group Our Republic has also insisted it is time for England and the UK to get rid of the anthem which is “outdated and anachronistic”.

John Hall, the vice convener, said: “We see the Scottish booing of the English national anthem first and foremost through the lens of the Scottish football fans enjoying an old football rivalry.

“However, the English national anthem is an outdated, anachronistic thing unsuited for the modern world or modern Britain.

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“Most countries anthems look to reflect pride in that country’s people, culture and history, whereas God Save the King is a horrendous dirge, swearing subservience to a ruler with a God given right to reign over us.

“Our Republic would be happy to see the English choose a new anthem, one that reflects everything England has to be proud of in its land and people. We would also call on the entirety of the UK to update our anthem to reflect modern values.”

God Save the King is the official anthem of every nation of the UK but is not generally used by Scottish teams, who instead sing Flower of Scotland by The Corries.

This has been the case for more than 30 years after the Grand Slam-winning rugby team opted to sing Flower of Scotland for the first time in 1990 instead of God Save the King.

This then led to the Scottish FA adopting it as the pre-game anthem in 1997, although it was first used by the team in 1993.

England teams have generally continued to keep God Save the King as their anthem as well as it being the British one. Ex-player Michael Stewart claimed the fact the two are wrapped together was the reason behind the booing from Scotland fans.

He said: “England is not Britain but on many fronts it either acts like it is or it’s facilitated that way.

“That’s disrespectful and unacceptable, it’s also not sustainable”.

There have been calls over the years for England to adopt another anthem such as Jerusalem or Land of Hope and Glory, both of which have been used at the Commonwealth Games.