A violent or menacing character on British television, especially if a raving drunk or a mad homeless man, will often have a Glasgowaccent, since Glaswegian is a very good accent and dialect for uttering threats.
The character often uses headbutts (also called "The Glasgow Kiss"), knees in the crotch and other unsportsmanlike fighting methods. The "Angry Scotsman" occasionally makes an appearance in American media, (though the Irish sometimes get a similar treatment, since as far as the Hollywood Atlas is concerned, they all come from Scotireland anyway). In fact, owing to a recent surge in political correctness among the British media, the Angry scot archetype has receded, to the point where Groundskeeper Willie of "The Simpsons" is probably the most popular and well-known character to fit this stereotype on British TV today, despite the show itselfbeing American
A connected stereotype is the "Ned" - a young Glaswegian hooligan who wears tilted-up baseball caps, lots of gold bling and tracksuits, travels in packs, drinks Buckfast by the gallon, and is impossible to understand.
To some degree, this is Truth in Television — Glasgow is the murder capital of Britain and was until very recently the murder capital of Western Europe (it has now been overtaken by Limerick). note You tryin' tae say we're saft or summat? Yer gettin' chibbed fir that! It's worth mentioning that the royal motto of Scotland is "nemo me impune lacessit", Latin for "nobody attacks me with impunity". Also worth comparing the modi operandi of historical Scottish and English nobles who didn't like each other: English nobles would plot, scheme, intrigue, and generally try to ensure that direct confrontation only took place on the battlefield, whereas Scottish nobles were usually quite happy to simply walk up to their enemy and stab them right in front of everyone with a "stitch this, Jimmae." Also, the sectarian rivalry between Rangers and Celtic is one of the longest running and ugliest football feuds, leading to at least some degree of violence at every game between the two. That said, Glasgow is also notably one of the friendliest cities in Scotland (a cynic might call this Gallows Humor), especially in contrast to relatively aloof Edinburghers. It is also noticeably better run that most urban areas in the UK, especially, again Edinburgh, which columnist Alan Cochrane called "the worst run city in Europe." Given the trams scheme, he was probably right...
Notably, there are at least two fighting tropes named after the city. The Glascow Kiss is not to be confused with a Glasgow Grin, which is when somebody's cheek is sliced open from corners of the mouth; in the past there were groups of thugs called "razor gangs" who used razors to slice people's faces in fights (this was a time when hanging was still in use, so using a firearm was a no-no).
See also Brave Scot, Brooklyn Rage, Southies. The Irish, or at least Oirish, counterpart to this (assuming there is a difference) is Fighting Irish.
open/close all folders
One Castrol motor oil ad campaign has a demented Scot flogging people with a dipstick while uttering his catchphrase "Think wi' yer dipstick, Jimmy!" No, really.
Irn-Bru, a Scottish beverage that glows an unusual shade of orange, knows and loves this trope. Watch to the end for a Glasgow Kiss from a vending machine.
As mentioned in the video, Irn-Bru is said to be made from girders, and actually does contain ammonium ferric citrate.
A spoof election campaign by British newspaper The Guardian portrays then-prime minister Gordon Brown in this way. Brown is Scottish (though not actually Glaswegian) and was often nicknamed 'Irn Broon' after the drink mentioned above ('Broon' representing the way 'Brown' would be pronounced in a thick Scottish accent). Despite being an April Fools' joke, the poster caught on, and many people considered it to be superior to the real election campaign.
Anime and Manga
Anime dub/manga translation example: English language interpretations of violent Church Militant Alexander Anderson from Hellsing have conferred a Scottish accent on him even though he has no official nationality and works at an Italian orphanage.
A more PG-13 version exists in the form of Johnny McGregor, the Scottish member of the European "Majestics" team in Beyblade. He's got the red hair and the attitude, and is described as a "True Scotsman", playing Tennis and Golf as well. He's even described as "The Gladiator of Glascow".
He is popular for acting like the "Glasgow hard-man" most of the time, his comedy acts often being outrageous and offensive (such as his comments during the Ken Bigley hostage situation, in which he called on the terrorists to "get on with it"). He also wrote and sang a song called "Evil Scotsman" (written by Rockin' Jock) with such lyrics as "I'm a mean motherfucker, I was born that way/And just because I wear a skirt, don't think I'm fucking gay!"
He likes to spend a lot of his time playing merry hell with this one, both in and out of his stand-up acts. He's got a strong love of both history and travel, is quite soft-hearted, and tends to look slightly unusual, to say the least. For a significant proportion of his recent career he's had a dyed-purple goatee, and he has a tendency to run around in the buff given the slightest opportunity. To date, locations for this include the Australian outback, a beach in New Zealand, Trafalgar Square in London, and the Arctic!
He also developed a reputation for punching journalists if they asked him prying questions about his absent mother. Also, he once chased a reporter the length of a street and tackled him over an article he had written.
In the comic V for Vendetta, one of the minor antagonists is Harper, a violent Scot - who, while he prefers killing with knives - is also an arms dealer, strangely enough (given the above description).
Not only that. The comic makes several references to Scotland not being entirely under the control of the Norsefire government. Just think about that for a second. The comic has the UK surviving nuclear war, the subsequent environmental disaster, and the rise of a totalitarian government, and you still can't keep this trope down.
Wee Hughie from The Boys is an inversion: at the beginning of the comic he doesn't fight anyone, and only actually starts to fight once he's been injected with the Super Serum. And even then, he's still less violent than the Frenchman and the Female.
The Piper from Adventures in the Rifle Brigade. More than a century old, lives in a well from which he is summoned by means of a haggis on a fishing line, and his bagpipe causes ear bleeding on non-Commonwealth people and is made with the skin of the last guy who tried to take it from him. Thankfully, he doesn't speak, he just stares at you. Needless to say, this is a Garth Ennis comic.
A Scotsman In Egypt is the tale of how Scotland conquered the world, thanks in large part to its inhabitants being, well, Scottish. The sight of insane men in kilts and huge swords is enough to scare enemies, and that's before they charge.
Billy's dad from Billy Elliot, even though the rest of the village are all from County Durham.
Trainspotting: Begbie. Although this violent sociopath is from Leith, actor Robert Carlyle portrayed him as (in his words) "a cartoon caricature of a Glasgow hard man." Renton explains the psychology of the Violent Glaswegian in the Trainspotting novel. He says that Begbie is like that because "he believed his own - and it must be said, our - propaganda about him being a total psychopath".
Sid from Children of Men is one of the many extremely violent policemen in the film's Crapsack World version of Britain. Early in the film, he likes to toy with and scare people, and eventually we see him turn quite psychotic.
Gerard Butler's role in 300, due to his Scottish accent. The Spartans all speak in a broad British accent, and it's interesting to note that some translations of Ancient Greek literature give Spartans a Scots dialect, due to similarities in the way Spartans and Scots have been portrayed.
Many of the Scots in Braveheart, most specifically Hamish, the huge Boisterous Bruiser who likes to show people his affection by ponching them in th' heid. His elderly dad's an even tougher nutter.
According to Mike Myers' character in So I Married an Axe Murderer, the Scots have their own form of martial arts called "Fuh'kew" which is comprised of "...mostly headbutts, and then kicking the other person when they're on the ground."
Alice in Wonderland: Whenever the Mad Hatter started getting a tad more intense, Johnny Depp's accent changes to Scottish.
Casino Royale (1967) has a bunch of tough Scotsmen who challenge David Niven to a game of catch with stone cannonballs, a Highland marching band that roughs up Peter Sellers in a programmed hallucination, and Scots henchmen in Woody Allen's underground lair. Also, French police officer Mathis speaks with a Scots accent, which worries him.
He may have lost the accent working for MI6, but Skyfall established beyond a doubt that Bond is Scottish, and no one in their right mind messes with that guy.
The Scottish animal pen designer in We Bought a Zoo wears traditional Scottish attire, gets drunk at the zoo bar, and has to be physically restrained from attacking his nemesis.
Gimli is this in the film version of The Lord of the Rings due to the fact that Dwarves in general were portrayed to have Scottish accents.
For the same reason, Dwalin is this as well in the film version of The Hobbit.
The punk cannibal savages in Doomsday (albeit with some excuse, given their situation). Eden is superficially more civilized, but has strong tendencies toward this trope herself.
Discworld equivalents: Wee Mad Arthur and the Nac Mac Feegle, who almost literally squeeze six feet of violence into a six inch package. This fits the general impression that the shorter a Scotsman is, the more dangerous he is.
Also referenced in The Discworld Companion:
"[Ankh-Morpork and Klatch are] the kind of inveterate cultural enemies like England and France, the North and South of the United States, Western Australia and the rest of Australia, Scotland and Scotland, etc..."
Irvine Welsh has his novels filled with Violent Glaswegians. A few examples: Dozo Doyle from Glue (tortures guard dogs to death), Alex Setterington from Marabou Stork Nightmares (ringleader of a horrific gang-rape), and, of course, the aforementioned Begbie.
Interestingly, probably his most violent Glaswegian - in full neck-snapping, brain-shooting, eye-gouging glory - is an extremely petite South Asian woman. Glasgow has a large South Asian community, which contributes some of the local MPs
Good Omens describes the Scots as being locked in eternal war with their archenemy, the Scots.
Malakai Makaisson in the Gotrek & Felix novels has the accent down pat (the author William King is a native of Stranraer). Plus he's a Slayer, and the type of guy who invents things like Airships, Rocket Launchers, and a rapid-fire axe-thrower.
The inventive Scotsman is a real-life trope, interestingly enough.
In The Big One, it's mentioned that Scotland was never really pacified by the Nazis to the same extent as England, and in Glasgow, the straight razor became as much a symbols of Scottish resistance as the Claymore had been.
In Ken MacLeod's Newton's Wake, one of the main power blocs is the 'Bloody Carlyles', a family of Glaswegian junk-men, drug dealers, and assorted petty criminals who lucked into a way of travelling to the stars after the Singularity.
Alex Kilgour from the Sten series is a more...focused version. He's a a very highly-trained military operative, and prefers to do the violence with explosives. He's from a heavy-gravity world though, so when he does hit things, they tend to die painfully.
Alex tells a joke about the days when the Romans were trying to hold Hadrian's Wall, and one newbie was terrified of his first encounter with some heavily armed, scowling, cursing Scots. But they passed by without killing him, and he commented to a veteran that the Scots weren't so bad after all. The older Roman replied, "But later tonight, when their men get done drinking, we may have some trouble."
Then there's the fearsome Angus McAllister, head gardener at Blandings Castle, who has a Clydeside accent and a face like a dissipated potato. 'It is never difficult to distinguish between a Scotsman with a grievance and a ray of sunshine,' Wodehouse observed.
In Notes From a Small Island, Bill Bryson reminisces about his days as a journalist for The Times in the mid-1980's, describing the editor as "a terrifying Scotsman" and gives this rendition of his typical speech:
"We're sending ye tae Wapping, ye soft English nancies, and if ye wairk very, very hard and if ye doonae get on ma tits, then mebbe I'll not cut off yer knackers and put them in ma Christmas pudding. D'ye have any problems with tha'?"
George MacDonald Fraser's semi-autobiographical McAuslan series is, in many ways, a paean to a post-war Highland battalion comprised largely of these characters.
Religion in the Scottish mind — or in the Glaswegian mind, anyway — is inextricably bound up with sport, to such an extent that I have seen an amicable dispute on the offside rule progress, by easy stages, through Rangers and Celtic, to a stand-up fight over the fate of some ancient martyr called the BlessÚd John Ogilvie, in which Private Forbes butted a Catholic comrade under the chin.
In the Honor Harrington novel Shadow of Freedom, a character reflects on the rather violent history of his homeworld, originally settled by ethnic scots.
MacNaughtan's grandmother had always claimed that no one else in the entire Ante Diaspora history of the human race had been able to hold a grudge, cherish a feud, or cling to a lost cause like the Scots. Except, perhaps, she'd added thoughtfully, the Irish. Apparently some things changed even less than others.
Robbie Coltrane is a Glaswegian who often plays tough, but not necessarily violent, characters. Sometimes he plays against type: In The Fruit Machine, he's a Camp Gay transvestite with a Glasgow accent, and in the Harry Potter films, he plays Gentle Giant Hagrid, and speaks with a Westcountry accent. On the other hand he had the title role in the Live-Action Adaptation of The Bogie Man (see Comic Books, above).
The title character from Blackadder III finds himself having to fight a duel with the psychotic Duke of Wellington, so he tries to recruit his equally psychotic, Glaswegian-esque cousin MacAdder (who looks uncannily like him) as his replacement.
Any Professional Wrestling fan worth his salt remembers how Rowdy Roddy Piper made a career (both in and out of the ring) as the embodiment of this trope in the 1980s.
"Scotch Mist." The Scotsmen are portrayed as violent enough to come back from the dead to murder people, and when they are engaged in conversation, subtitles are helpfully provided.
Most of the jokes that Frankie Boyle makes on Mock the Week invoke this trope.
How often are police in Glasgow called out to deal with a pregnant woman attacking a rottweiler with a sledgehammer?
The British Game ShowInterceptor had Sean O'Kane, from just outside Glasgow, playing a madder than a box of frogs, black leather-coated villain with a line in gratuitous insults and a clear desire to head butt someone if he'd been allowed to.
He once requested his helicopter pilot "Mikie" to land a helicopter on a contestant's head (he did not do so) and on another occasion Mikie stated he would mine a stretch of river for him.
Desmond on LOST fits for awhile, before Character Development. He spends most of his first two centric episodes drinking and raving, and a third flashback episode mentions a past as something of a drunken soccer hooligan.
Ashes to Ashes has a visiting Glaswegian journalist who manages to be cheerfully violent despite being heavily pregnant. In defiance of all TV traditions, she also manages to get through the entire episode without giving birth.
The homeless man The Inbetweeners meet in London: while he isn't violent, he speaks with a Scottish accent, and Will claims that he 'really scares' him.
Jamie and Malcolm from The Thick of It and In the Loop epitomise this trope. Other characters refer to them and their henchmen as the 'Caledonian Mafia', a term actually used to describe Scots in the Blair/Brown government.
Hengist and the Mercians in Merlin. Yes, Hengist was the leader of the Germanic tribes in England, and Mercia is the modern English Midlands. It's Merlin.
On a Good Eats episode on oats, Alton Brown dresses like a fourth-string extra from Braveheart to demonstrate how to make haggis. He reinforces his instructions with the admonition "Or I'll give ye the back o' my HAND!"
Brighton Belles, the short-lived Transatlantic Equivalent to The Golden Girls, made Sophia's character a Glaswegian, Josephinenote Actually, she grew up in the Highlands, but she had a Glaswegian accent. Not only did Josephine have a nasty temper herself, but her late husband was implied to have been a Glaswegian criminal (in the same way as Sophia's was implied to have be a New York gangster).
Callum Finnegan in Brookside. A huge shock to the Scottish audience, who associated Gerard Kelly with mildly camp comedy roles.
Flynn from Power Rangers RPM...maybe. He's The Big Guy, uses "This is how we do it Glasglow style!" as a battle cry in one episode, and bellows "I'm SCOTTISH!" when asked what his role in the Five-Man Band is by Tenaya 7. On the other hand, he has perhaps the least issues of anyone on the team, and is a Genius Bruiser, fitting the "inventive" trope mentioned above.
Jamie, companion of the Second Doctor of, is a kilt-wearing, simple-minded Scot who primarily resorts to brute strength and violence to solve problems. Possibly justified in Jamie's case; he was picked up straight from the battlefield of Culloden, after all, and soldiers in general are not very well known for being shrinking violets, let alone Scottish ones.
In "Asylum of the Daleks", when Amy slaps Rory for asking a stupid question, Oswin asks if Amy seems more angry than usual ( since that would indicate the Dalek conversion was further along than they thought). Amy's response is "Well, somebody's never been to Scotland."
In The Name of the Doctor, it is revealed that Strax, having discovered the concept of the weekend off, has taken to traveling up to Glasgow in order to get into bar fights with the only people in the universe able to equal the Sontarans for sheer bloody-minded aggression.
Mr. Gold a.k.a. Rumplestiltskin from Once Upon a Time is actually from an alternate fantasy world but played by Scottish actor Robert Carlyle. Though he prefers using magic and manipulating people through deals, it doesn't take much to get him to break out the Cane Fu.
Singer Alex Harvey (of the Sensational Alex Harvey Band) was notorious for singing cover versions in a menacing Glaswegian accent. When he sang 'Delilah' he sounded demented enough to have actually committed the murder the song talks about.
The founding of Franz Ferdinand subverts this. Nick McCarthy drunkenly stole Alex Kapranos' bottle of vodka at a drunken party in (where else?) Glasgow. On the edge of a fight, Kapranos asked McCarthy: "Can you play the drums"? It turned out he really couldn't, but they switched things around, and a band was born.
There are rumours that there was an actual fight for a bit, and then there was the question, and then the fight segued into a makeout session.
Brutal death metal act Cerebral Bore plays this trope for all it's worth; not only do they hail from Glasgow, but their lyrics make heavy use of Glaswegian slang and frequently read like the disjointed, incoherent rantings of an angry ned.
"Rowdy" Roddy Piper is one of the most popular ones in wrestling. He was even billed to come from Glasgow, Scotland (He's actually a Scot-heritaged Canadian).
Drew McIntyre, a Scottish wrestler depicted in Kayfabe as having an explosive temper and a bit of a sadistic streak.
In BattleTech, this trope is in full force with planets such as Caledonia and Northwind being among the planets settled by Scots. The latter has a mercenary unit to its name, the Northwind Highlanders, who fall under the trope of the Brave Scot, especially in the latter portion of the post-Jihad timeline. They are also some of the most passionate Mechwarriors in the series, especially the novels. This includes a scene where two Highlanders with a grudge fight it out in a bar while the other Highlanders, including command officers, drink, officiate, and bet on the outcome of the two-man bar brawl. Later pieces demonstrate that in more extreme cases of internal strife, they can and will fight fair against their own, but are bloody wicked scrappers against anyone else they see as an outsider.
The Demoman from Team Fortress 2 is a black, one-eyed Scottish psychopath. His weapons are bombs, another kind of bombs, and an empty bottle of scotch. See this in his "Meet the Team" interview. His first three unlockable weapons; yet another kind of bomb, a massive Claymore (which is haunted and craves heads) and a shield which allows him to make berserker style charges. His other unlockable weapons include more swords and a high yield explosive on a stick used as a melee weapon. You may notice a theme here.
Magnus Armstrong from No One Lives Forever. Very Scottish, very violent, very drunk. True Glaswegian Icon. Kate herself is Scottish, although how violent she is depends on the player. Magnus does make her prove her "Scottiness" by besting him in a fistfight.
In Western RPGs with voice acting, dwarves with the stereotypical hard drinking hard fighting tough as nails demeanour are often portrayed with a Scottish accent.
The Scottish accent in Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children was allocated to Cait Sith, of all characters. Whilst it technically makes sense due to his name being a reference to Scottish and Irish fairy tales, it is still hilarious funny to hear him say "YOU'RE THE CHIPS AND GRAVY" in a overblown accent.
Jimmy Wilson in The Darkness II's Vendettas mode is a walking, axe-throwing personification of this trope.
Interesting Aversion with Lowell from The Last Story who despite being the only character in the game with a Scottish Accent, is actually portrayed as a charming lech. However, he IS the only mage type character who can use swords well...
*selecting your own general* "Can we finish them yet, sire!?"
*laying siege to an enemy town/castle* "Those walls won't protect them for long!!"
*winning a battle* "Your foes lie dead at my feet, sire!" "Hahahaha! YES! Victorrryyyy!!"
*selecting an enemy general* "I'LL CUT YER HEAD OFF AND SHHIIIT DOWN YER NECK!!"
In Ultra Fast Pony, Derpy Hooves speaks with a Scots accent and believes firmly in solving her problems with violence. Her biggest role in the series is when she decides on a whim to kill everyone in Ponyville.
The Simpsons: Groundskeeper Willie on, whose belligerence and sociopathy leads to him declaring Scots to be the natural enemies of Englishmen, Welshmen, Japanese, and even other Scots, in the quote at the top of the page. Willie has been identified as a Glaswegian ("...the ugliest man in Glasgow...") on at least one occasion, but has an accent of indeterminate origin and had been, at various points in time, said to hail from Edinburgh, Loch Ness, and "North Kilt-Town", before Willie himself finally cleared things up by declaring that he was actually from Kirkwall in Orkney.
Groundskeeper Willie: "Ach! They call this a football riot? Let's take 'em to town, lads!"
(gets up with a couple of other obviously Scottish men and a lead pipe)
Donald from Thomas the Tank Engine is probably the most family friendly example out there. He didn't hold back giving The Spiteful Brake Van a fierce bump for delaying Douglas' trains. This made the brake van behave better, although temporarily until it was Douglas who unintentionally breaks him into pieces.
The Scotsman from Samurai Jack is more or less this trope's personification. Naturally, the first time he and Jack meet, he turns a minor issue that Jack was willing to compromise on into a full-on sword fight to the death that lasted a third of the episode and obliterated most of the surrounding landscape right up until it was interrupted by Aku. He has a machine gun in place of a prosthetic leg.
And such a man would have to have an equally violent wife...which he does. She's just as much of a Boisterous Bruiser as her hubby is, but she manages to do just as much damage as him WHILE UNARMED. (That is, once somebody calls her fat. ) How she was captured in the first place is anyone's guess.
Shrek subverts this. He's bad tempered, but not all that violent.
Kim Possible villain Duff Killigan, a golfer who was banned from every golf course in the world for his temper tantrums. Yes, even mini-golf courses.
Cecil Stink from 'Avenger Penguins.' Odd, since his 'brothers' don't appear to have inherited his accent.
Freakazoid! 's mentor and driving instructor, Roddy McStew