For the first time since he became editor 18 months ago, The Scotsman's John McLellan has personally intervened in response to letters sent to the paper.
In the Letters to the Editor section today, there are half a dozen letters – indicative of a more extensive storm of protest – objecting to the use of the word, 'Hun', to describe fans of Rangers. All complain that the word has sectarian and offensive connotations.
The cartoon appeared yesterday. Today, McLellan, writes: “At the risk of now alienating Celtic supporters, I was brought up in Glasgow supporting Rangers and, unlike the letter writers, I have never found the term 'Hun' offensive. I've lost count of the number of times I've been called it as anything other than gentle ribbing. Celtic supporters I know find no offence in being called a 'Tim'.”
But he continues: “All that being said, we have obviously underestimated the sensitivity of this particular word to some and apologise for the offence caused. But perhaps it is a mark of the distance Scotland still has to travel when football nicknames whose origin is almost lost in the mists of time can still arouse such passions.”