St Andrew’s Day message from Scotland’s First Minister

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The next year will be the “most incredible time to be in Scotland”, First Minister Alex Salmond has said in his St Andrew’s Day message.

Filmed at Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Park and across the city in the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome – both venues for the 20th Commonwealth Games in July and August, the message focuses on the some of the major events taking place in Scotland over the next twelve months.

In the message the First Minister says:

“St Andrew’s Day is a very special day in Scotland – a day when we celebrate our history, our people and of course our culture. It also marks the start of our famous Winter Festivals, when people from around the world come to Scotland – to ring in the new year in the home of Hogmanay, and to celebrate Burns night in the land of his birth. This year, those winter festivals are particularly special, as we look forward to an amazing twelve months ahead.

“In September, as part of a peaceful, democratic and civic process – we will vote in a referendum on whether to become an independent country. It’s leading to an exciting and important debate – from all political perspectives – on the sort of country Scotland aspires to become. But 2014 will be a year like no other for Scotland as we prepare to host a range of events across the country – that’s why Lonely Planet has named Scotland as one of the three top countries in the world to visit next year.”

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“We are welcoming the world with our Year of Homecoming – with more than 400 events taking place across the country. And we’re hosting two of the greatest sporting events on the planet. Golf’s Ryder Cup will be watched by more than a quarter of a million spectators at Gleneagles; and by television viewers in more than 180 countries across the globe. And Glasgow, where I am speaking from today, is getting ready to host the Commonwealth Games – the greatest sporting and cultural celebration Scotland has ever seen.”

With well over 90 per cent of the available tickets for the Commonwealth Games having been sold already, the First Minister welcomes the advanced preparations and growing enthusiasm for the event in Scotland and around the world.

Mr Salmond also noted in his message that in Dunedin, New Zealand – a city named by Scots in 1848, and some 12,000 miles from Glasgow – will be hosting the Queen’s Baton Relay during its St Andrews Day celebrations.

“It’s a great example of the pride people have in their affinity to Scotland and it shows that people across the planet are getting excited by what’s happening in Scotland in 2014,” the First Minister added.

“So wherever you are – from Dunedin in New Zealand to New Delhi in India; from Banff in Canada to Blantyre in Malawi; I wish you all the very best for this St Andrew’s Day. And I hope that as many as possible of you will join us over the next year – it will be the most incredible time to be in Scotland.”