This article provides a critical discourse analysis of Scottish newspaper reports relating to football and ‘sectarianism’ in Scotland. It claims that there is a powerful and longstanding ideological ‘framing’ of sectarianism in sections of the Scottish press that is latently power-laden. This discourse attempts to construct and reaffirm a unified non-sectarian core identity that ‘real’ and ‘authentic’ Scots (should) share in opposition to a set of sectarian ‘others’. The various connotations attached to sectarian and sectarianism, together with their use in particular ways that reflect an ideological hegemony, are illustrated. Much of the press treatment of sectarianism is shown to lack sensitivity to the historical, hierarchical and relational aspects of religious, political and ethnic identities in Scotland.