The parade from Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum to George Square featured 47 athletes including Sir Chris Hoy, who became the most decorated British Olympian of all time by securing another two gold medals at London 2012, surpassing Sir Steve Redgrave's total of five gold medals.
Scots came out in force with 3000 at Kelvingrove, 11,000 at George Square for speeches, and many more lining the streets for a parade, seven-deep in some places, to recognise the athletes' record-breaking achievements in London 2012.
Scottish athletes won a record-breaking 14 medals at the London Olympics, and 11 medals at the Paralympics in a golden summer of British sporting success.
And while tennis gold medallist Andy Murray could not attend after his US Open victory – he will be in his hometown of Dunblane on Sunday – Scots were able to pay homage to the achievements of other competitors including rowing gold medallist Katherine Grainger, swimmer Michael Jamieson, sailor Luke Patience and cyclist Neil Fachie.
Sir Chris, who has been named as an official ambassador for the 2014 Commonwealth Games, to be hosted by Glasgow, told the crowd: "Thank you so much, everybody, for coming out here today.
"All the athletes are saying it is way better than anybody could imagine. It means so much to us.
"Everywhere you go people are buzzing about it still. There is still so much energy and enthusiasm and excitement."
Speaking shortly before the parade began, he said: "It's nice to be part of the team – it's not just me.
"People have said to me, 'I had no interest in the Games and ended up glued to the TV'. It's amazing to see.
"It's not been a London-based games – it's been for the whole of the UK."
Fachie, who was victorious in the velodrome winning gold for Paralympics GB, also expressed his appreciation for the turnout. "Just amazing," he said. "Thank you very much, Glasgow. I didn't expect to see so many of you here."
Patience, silver medallist in the 470 Class sailing, added: "I thought the London parade was good. You guys are way better."
Jamieson, who took silver in the 200m breaststroke and is currently based in Bath, said he hoped to come back to his home city to train in the future.
He said: "Glasgow is without doubt attracting world-class athletes. I think Glasgow will be up to the task of holding the Commonwealth Games.
"I'm delighted to be representing Scotland at the Commonwealth Games."
Grainger, who brought home gold in the women's double scull along with team-mate Anna Watkins, said: "It's quite moving to see the support we have. For me it is very personal because I was born and brought up in Glasgow."
First Minister Alex Salmond, who attended the celebrations and was booed by a section of the crowd, said the parade to honour the athletes was "inspirational".
He added: "Scotland has immense pride in each one of our athletes on Team GB and Paralympics GB, and it is absolutely fitting that many thousands of people of all ages from every part of the country have lined the streets of Glasgow today to cheer them on.
"The warmth and enthusiasm shown by the vast crowds towards the athletes also bears testament to the passionate love of sport in Scotland, and I am sure the excitement will be carried through to the Commonwealth Games when it begins in the city in 2014."
Following the parade, Mr Salmond hosted a reception for the athletes, their guests and other dignitaries at the city's Old Fruitmarket, which the First Minister described as "a fitting end to an inspirational day".
During proceedings, the First Minister paid tribute to the endeavours of Scotland's athletes during the summer, praising them for their hard work and dedication and telling them they had provided inspiration for a new generation of Scottish sporting talent to emerge and emulate their achievements.
He said: "I know that each one of the athletes will remember this day for a very long time and it is my hope that the many young people who came out to see them in Glasgow, or rubbed shoulders with them at the reception, will be inspired to take up sport, or take their sport to the next level and aim to compete in future Olympic and Paralympic games."
Louise Martin CBE, chairwoman of sportscotland, added: "These celebrations are a fitting tribute for all of the Scottish athletes in Team GB and Paralympics GB, and are a great opportunity for the people of Scotland to salute them for their tremendous efforts.
"There is a terrific sporting momentum from the London Games' success and we will build on that in the run-up to Glasgow 2014, where Team Scotland is aiming to make 2014 the most successful ever Commonwealth Games."
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