Tips to Play as Scotland
England has a stronger army, larger army and a better economy than Scotland. Not only do you need to know how to find defensively, but also offensively and how to manage your economy to not become bankrupt with the amount of mercs you need.
OP, you only want to ally France after the Maine event (the possible first England vs France war by event), so get a royal marriage with them and increase opinion after unpausing. Instead get alliances with other nations, which will most likely be minor, unless you can ally Denmark. Dont ally Brittany or Burgundy, and dont ally rivals of France. Small german nations can be enough to deter England from attacking you.
You want to focus on an extremely fast conquest of Ireland. Depending on when the Maine War starts you want to have Ireland under your control when it ends. If you have the Rule Britannia DLC, you may want to ally France at the beginning and finish the mission to get a permanent claim on Ulster, then end the alliance with France again. If you dont have the DLC, just get a claim yourself and go to town. Gather claims and attack, all of Ireland as fast as possible. You can even attack many of them at the same time, Ireland isnt strong enough to end you.
If you have Ireland under your control and the Maine war ended, you should be strong enough for France to desire you as ally, especially when you still have a royal marriage and increased the opinion to a maximum. When France is your ally and they have most of their mainland back, then just wait until you have enough favors/trust until you can call them into a war with England. For safety you can build more heavy ships than England has and destroy their navy, so France is more likely to actually invade England as well.
I would also suggest to take a military idea first, just to make it easier for you. Defensive is most likely best, but Quality is also ok, just to get on the same level as Englands powerlevel.
If your first aggressive war against England is still to risky for you, you can also go the absolute safety route and take Exploration to colonize and stretch out in Africa.
All of this works also when starting with someone in Ireland.
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