Catalonia in Scotland
Catalan separatist protesters have been pitching up outside polling stations in Scotland in the run up to the independence referendum. Twitter @ASimpleDan

The separatist movement in Catalonia has been watching with baited breath to see if Scotland would sever its ties with the United Kingdom and vote Yes to independence.

Ahead of their own vote for secession from Spain - which Catalan President Artur Mas vows will go ahead on 9 November, even though it is illegal under the terms of the Spanish constitution - the Catalan people have been keen observers in the run-up to the Scotland referendum.

As voters went to the polls in Scotland on Thursday, men draped in the Catalan flag were spotted walking the streets of Edinburgh, in solidarity with "Yes" voters.

Catalonia, in the north-east of Spain, is already a semi-autonomous region, but now wants full independence from Madrid.

I don't think [Catalonia] mind if Scotland does not become independent because what they want is a referendum, and they know they will probably win it.
- John Ardila, Edinburgh University

The similarities and timings of the two votes mean the Scottish referendum - which resulted in a majority "No" vote on Friday - could have major ramifications for Spain.

John Ardila, professor of Modern Spanish and Comparative Literature at Edinburgh University, has followed the progress of both the Scottish and Catalonian independence debates. He told Prospect: "Scotland is important because Scotland gives moral spirit to people in Catalonia. People there are saying "we are the same as Scotland."

Ardila added that the final No vote in Scotland today will not dampen Catalonia's desire for independence.

"They are using [the Scottish case] to say, 'if Scotland can do it, we should have the right to do it as well.' I don't think they mind if Scotland does not become independent because what they want is a referendum, and they know they will probably win it."

Tributes to Scottish and Catalan independence lie side by side. Twitter: @lhvmvm

Spanish PM hails Scottish result

But although Catalan separatists were unsurprisingly excited by the prospect of Scottish independence, it has always been a substantial problem for Catalonia as, unlike in Scotland, the upcoming referendum will carry no legal weight.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy responded to the Scotland vote, vowing once again to prevent the 9 November vote that separatist Catalans want to hold in the wealthy Mediterranean region of 7.5 million people.

Addressing Spain on Friday, Rajoy congratulated Scottish citizens for "clearly and unequivocally" choosing the remain a part of the UK and the European Union. In a video lasting almost two minutes, Rajor said that Scots had voted "en masse, peacefully and with scrupulous respect to the laws of their country."

"With their decision, the Scots have avoided the serious economic, social, institution and political consequences that their separation from the UK and Europe would have supposed", he continued.

Rajoy had previously slammed the Scotland Yes campaign on Wednesday, saying that an independent Scotland would have to reapply to join the EU, a process that could take up to eight years.

Spain's constitution does not allow referendums that do not include all Spaniards and experts say Spain's constitutional court would rule the vote illegal.

A debate in the Catalan parliament to discuss the secession referendum in light of the Scottish result is expected to begin at 14.30GMT on Friday.