I HAVE always found amusing the claim by English fans and commentators that a Euro 2020 win will see football “coming home”.

If it were truly “coming home” it would be to Scotland and not to England that it would be returning, for it was the Scots who truly devised the modern version of the game as we know it. Without our civilising intervention, what England might have given the world was just another version of rugby.

When the so-called Football Association was formed at the instigation of a young solicitor from Hull, Ebenezer Morley, what he proposed would be seen now as a basis for rugby with extra violence.

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Morley’s draft laws provided that a player could not only run with the ball in his hands but that opponents could stop him by charging, holding, tripping or hacking. A more civilised code did emerge, but the English game was still mainly a question of head-down dribbling.

It was the Scots who had the notion of artfully distributing the ball among the players. This started with young men, from Perthshire and the Highlands mainly, who gathered at Queen’s Park in Glasgow in 1867. They obtained a copy of the FA laws and amended them to conform with an almost scientific blend of dribbling and passing.

When they invented passing, these men had invented football. Far from being an English game, it was one that was conceived to confound the English because the Scots, being generally smaller than their opponents in football’s oldest international rivalry, could hardly afford to take them on physically.

As Scots we can truly feel pride some pride this week as England take on Denmark in the Euro 2020 semi-final. To have the English borrowing our history is quite a compliment, the only downside being that we are no longer there to share in the glory of our invention of the “beautiful game”.

Alex Orr

IT’S not good enough for the Scottish Government to solely rely on the Westminster Foreign & Commonwealth Office to complain about the vicious, anti-democratic Ortega-Murillo regime in Nicaragua.

I worked for Scottish Medical Aid for Nicaragua (85-87) as a nurse when the Sandinista (FSLN) revolution had driven out the Somoza family dictatorship.

Later this year the dictator, Daniel Ortega, might be elected again since he has locked up at least five of the likely opposition presidential candidates already.

Yes, one of the leaders of the FSLN revolution was Ortega. He even spoke then at a Scottish Mayday rally about the popular health and education campaigns.

These advances were recognised by the UN and across the world, while the USA directed and financed a vicious civil war against this good example by the second poorest country in the western hemisphere.

However, Ortega showed where he stood in April 2018 when his police and death squads murdered 300-400 peasants, students and workers protesting against cuts in social security and the destruction of the jungle environment.

Other leading Sandinista veterans including Vilma Nunez have spoken out against Ortega but for a positive alternative. Our MSPs and MPs could show where they stand by writing to the London embassy (58-60 Kensington Church Street) and sending a copy to the Scottish press in solidarity with the continuing peaceful fight for democratic rights and for a really democratic presidential election this year.

Norman Lockhart

STUART Cosgrove’s pieces in Sunday National are always worth reading. This week’s was even more important than most (Conundrum that proves erses sometimes have more than two cheeks, July 4) – a fact not immediately apparent from its title.

An immense task faces anyone who believes that Scotland requires independence, if our children and grandchildren are to live in a world in which they can truly grow and flourish. This is a rather important point which sometimes seems to escape the “instant” nationalists in your pages, who appear to have no idea of the immensity – or timescale – of the task facing us.

READ MORE: Stuart Cosgrove: Conundrum proves erses sometimes have more than two cheeks

We can’t be sure we will win independence – by referendum, election, or any other means – until we know that well over 60% of Scotland’s electorate REALLY want it. That means the most important task of every independence supporter must be to win more doubters to our fold.

A few may come from previous Tory voters – although my own sense tells me they will be gey few indeed. Rather more may be won from the LibDems. But the vast majority must be drawn from the diminishing ranks of regular – and future – Labour voters.

My trades union background may lead me sometimes to overestimate the importance of the unions in this, but trades union activists are one group on which pro-independence supporters fail to focus at our peril.

This is why I and a few others have for some time now been targeting readers of the one London-based daily paper which is essential reading for opinion-influencers in today’s Scottish unions. And no, it’s not The Guardian, Independent/i, or the Mirror. It’s the only socialist daily paper in our disunited queendom…

Dougie Harrison