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Sport can bind Scotland whatever happens on September 18

WELL done Glasgow, from all of your friends and neighbours in the north-east of Scotland.

You did us proud.

The 11 days of sporting excellence and warm hospitality have put you on the map and done wonders for the growing reputation of our country.

As a city, you showed that people do make Glasgow, thanks to the 15,000 Clydesiders who volunteered at the Games

You delivered the friendly games in Glasgow, which will mainly be remembered for Team Scotland's fantastic medal haul of 53, way ahead of the target of 34.

The wider benefits to Glasgow in particular and Scotland in general are also worth recording.

As far as the Games themselves went, estimates from the organisers show that almost 3.5 million people used Glasgow Central train station throughout the Games, over 1.2m tickets were sold and 171,000 people attended the Rugby Sevens at Ibrox Stadium - a new record for the sport.

I was one of those many thousands at Ibrox to see the rugby sevens on the Saturday, and I will never forget 40,000 people singing Sweet Caroline during the two-minute half-time break during one of the games.

The impact on sales of Scottish food and drink has been immediate. Tunnock's found that sales of their signature "tea cakes" soared after featuring in the opening ceremony, with Waitrose claiming that a mere 24 hours after the ceremony, sales of the tea cakes rose by 62 per cent.

According to Tesco, demand for malt whisky increased by 30 per cent, demand for Scotland's other national drink, Irn Bru, rose by 15 per cent and Scottish bottled water sales rose by 50 per cent during the Games.

However, it was the haggis and black pudding producers who were the biggest winners, celebrating a UK-wide sales increase of up to 80 per cent.

There is a real buzz in Scotland this year.

Aberdeen hosted the Scottish Open in July, which was followed by the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is currently getting into its stride and next month sees the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles.

We are showing the world what we can do and how well we can do it.

Cynics will argue that there may be another event in September - which explains the current feast of international events - designed to sway sentiment in favour of a particular outcome.

No matter. Maybe the real outcome will be to put politics in true perspective in most people's lives - pretty low compared to family and friends, jobs and having fun.

What will really matter is if we manage to build on this for the bigger Team Scotland of all 5 million people-plus, with all the vibrant cities and regions of Scotland working together to build a better future - no matter what the result of that other race which crosses the finish line in September.

Robert Collier is chief executive of Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce

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