Reflecting on the performance of Scottish athletes at the Olympics, he said: "What this says is Scotland, a small nation, can deliver and achieve success on the world stage and, if we believe in ourselves, this is something we can take forward to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow," he said.
The sound-bite was delivered on a news bulletin at the start of the week and repeated during BBC Scotland's subsequent hour-long review of Scottish performance.
Had Scotland separate status from Great Britain, it would have been 12th on the medal table, ahead of countries generally perceived to have significantly superior sporting cultures such as the Netherlands, New Zealand and South Africa, and those with vast populations to choose from – India and Brazil – as well as the athletics superpowers of Jamaica and Kenya.
Perhaps even more relevant is that, at a time when Scottish sport lags way behind the Irish in what we think of as our leading sports – they were celebrating a quite different event as the Olympics were ending as Rory McIlroy brought the sixth major golf championship of the last five years to the Emerald Isle – the medal haul by Scottish athletes easily outweighed Ireland's single gold, single silver and trio of bronzes.
Since Scotland has a similar population to that of our Celtic cousins, it has only reinforced what seems to be a growing inferiority complex as we have been repeatedly outperformed by them on football, rugby and cricket pitches as well as on golf courses over the past decade and more.
What a difference it could have made to our collective sporting psyche, then, had we seen Scotland lined up on that medal table with its contribution of seven golds – almost 25% of the total British haul – and 13 medals in all, 20% of the overall British tally, from a province that boasts only 10% of the British population.
Supporters of Team GB, a commercially driven branding of sporting nationhood, are swift to remind us that no such success could have been achieved by Scottish athletes on their own.
Five of the gold medals won by Scots, three silvers and three bronzes were won as part of collectives that also included English athletes, they note.
Another argument – even less compelling – that has also been put forward is that Chris Hoy, one of three Scottish winners of individual medals, could not have achieved what he did without English help, because he did so much of his training in Manchester.
That would be the equivalent of saying that Mo Farah would be better to be part of the American team because he does much of his training in Florida and, indeed, seemed to receive some tactical help during his 10,000 metres win from his American training partner.
Similarly, the other Scot to win individual gold, Andy Murray, who is still viewed with suspicion by many Wimbledon regulars because he once made a joke about backing anyone but England in a football tournament, developed his tennis skills in Spain.
Does that, then, represent a case for being Scottish and citizens of the world within Europe, or should we simply accept the Walter Scott-esque version of nationality, encompassing costumes and musical instruments with no claim to any sort of sovereignty?
Even if we set aside the distaste generated by some organisations that are most enthusiastic about wrapping themselves in the Union flag, that is what Scots need to consider over the next couple of years, ahead of the Commonwealth Games at which Scotland will seek to go it alone and during which the real debate on nationality will take place.
Ask the Scots who won medals at the Olympics for their views and the vast majority will, of course, say they would prefer to be British because it gave them a better chance of achieving the success they have.
Ask the dozens of young Scots who might have been Olympians had they not had to compete with English, Northern Irish and Welsh rivals for places in the team and you will probably get a very different balance of answers.
Sportspeople are, for the most part, exceptionally selfish – the euphemism is single-minded – when it comes to their objectives. Far from seizing upon their views, though, as Gordon Brown did rather lamely this week – we should all now be British because Chris Hoy says so was the gist of his message – the rest of us must seriously consider what is better for Scottish youngsters in the struggling economic, social and sporting climate that the former prime minister and others bequeathed us.
To that end, perhaps it would be better to ask those in real countries such as New Zealand or, indeed, Ireland, whether they would rather be competing as Australasians, or Britons because it would give them a better chance of success. Do not do so, however, if you are easily offended by the use of expletives.
While New Zealand, population circa 4.5m, won 13 Olympic medals (six gold) and the Republic of Ireland, population c4.6m, won five (one gold), the nation of Scotland, population c.5.2m, won precisely none. If we are, collectively, happy with that, then so be it.
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