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A warm welcome to all our visitors

Anyone passing through the centre of Glasgow yesterday will have noticed the atmosphere:

groups of people newly arrived in the city, families lining the streets for the Commonwealth Games baton relay, and the baton bearers themselves passing some of the city's most famous landmarks at the end of an extraordinary round-the-world trip that has taken the baton through 70 nations and hundreds of Scottish communities, big and small.

Archie Graham, the deputy leader of Glasgow City Council and the man with the responsibility within the council to deliver the Games, says that, with just two days to go, he can sense the excitement on the streets. But Mr Graham has also emphasised the logistical challenges in putting on an event of such a scale.

In meeting those challenges, there have been some trip-ups - the idea of blowing up the Red Road flats during the opening ceremony for instance - but most of the challenges have still to be met and the biggest of them will be transport.

In an attempt to minimise any disruption, spectators are being encouraged to use park-and-ride schemes wherever possible and will also be able to use their Games tickets on buses, trains and the underground. The official advice is that wherever possible, anyone going to the Games should avoid using their car, but we know that official advice is not always followed and there are likely to be a few problems on the roads.

Some of this is unavoidable as the number of people trying to move around the city is predicted to double during the Games, and the infrastructure can only take so much without showing the strain.

But even so, the city and the organisers are likely to be judged on the issue of transport more than any other and everything that can be done in the last 48 hours to minimise the chance of disruption should be done.

Should it all go well, the potential benefits are huge. Negative preconceptions still persist among some of those who have never been to Glasgow, but with thousands visiting for the first time, the Games is an opportunity to show off the city and its exciting cultural landscape. The baton relay passed some of its highlights yesterday: the Mitchell Library, the Royal Conservatoire, the School of Art and many others.

At a tented village that has sprung up for the Games at Pollok Park, some of the volunteers who are staying there said their preconceptions have already been challenged. The village, and others like it across Glasgow, also demonstrate what an extraordinary act of communal volunteering and cooperation the Games represent.

The next couple of days will be about welcoming these volunteers and making sure as many of them as possible come back to Glasgow. The welcome also goes out to the athletes who are in the final stages of their preparation, to the spectators and staff, to those who have never been to Glasgow before and to those from all over the world who will watch the opening ceremony on Wednesday. The message is the same for all of them: Welcome to Glasgow.

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