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Doug Gillon's top 10 Scottish Commonwealth Games performances

As the final 100,000 tickets go on sale for Glasgow 2014, Doug Gillon, who has covered 11 Commonwealth Games in a row, lists the most heroic deeds he has witnessed from Scottish athletes.

Scotland's Lachie Stewart crosses the line first to win gold in the 10,000 metres at the 1970 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh, leaving Australia's Ron Clarke and other world-class rivals trailing in his wake.
Scotland's Lachie Stewart crosses the line first to win gold in the 10,000 metres at the 1970 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh, leaving Australia's Ron Clarke and other world-class rivals trailing in his wake.

1: LACHIE STEWART

Athletics - 10,000m

Edinburgh, 1970

The further the final went, with Stewart a limpet in the lead group, the more frenzied the capacity Meadowbank crowd became. The Vale of Leven dental mechanic kept a firm grip in awesome company: 1966 Olympic 10k champion Naftali Temu (Kenya); Olympic steeplechaser Kerry O'Brien (Australia); Dick Taylor, England's world cross-country silver medallist who had topped the world three-mile rankings the previous year; and Canada's Jerome Drayton who had won the Fukuoka marathon seven months earlier. Yet all eyes were on Stewart, and the peerless Australian, Ron Clarke.

Holder of 17 world records, but without a major title, Clarke desperately tried to shake off his rivals in his major championship finale. Half a lap from home he eased away from Taylor, but as the gap opened, Stewart accelerated, passing Taylor and closing Clarke down before sprinting clear to the most improbable and iconic victory. Stewart knocked more than 20 seconds from his previous best. It is still the Scottish native record.

2: IAN STEWART & IAN McCAFFERTY

Athletics — 5,000m Edinburgh, 1970

Equally improbable . . . Kip Keino had won the mile and three miles at the previous Games, in Kingston. The distances had become metric now, four years later, and the Kenyan had already taken the 1500m title at which he was now also Olympic champion. But Stewart and McCafferty were up for the race of their lives on the final day of the Games. Clarke and Keino were current and former world record-holders. Carluke prodigy McCafferty had a formidable sprint, but European 5000m champion Stewart planned to draw his sting. He relieved McCafferty of the lead with 550m remaining and increased the tempo remorselessly, with a final lap of 55.4 seconds and a last 200m in 26.4. He finished in 13:22.8, 13 seconds inside his previous best - a European record and second fastest man ever behind Clarke. McCafferty was second in 13:23.4 - still the Scottish native best, for which Stewart (England-born) was ineligible.

3: CHRIS HOY, CRAIG MACLEAN & ROSS EDGAR

Cycling — Team Sprint Melbourne, 2006

The Scots beat Australia, acknowledged as the world's best sprint cycling nation, with their qualifying ride, then in the final saw off England for the gold by 27 thousandths of a second - quicker than the blink of an eye. Their time would have won Olympic gold in Sydney in 2000. Edgar became first Scot to win medals of each colour at a single Games, and as a team achievement it was, as we reported then: "like beating the All Blacks and the Springboks on the same day. Or Brazil and Italy on the football field". Hoy retired last year but MacLean will be in Glasgow this summer as pilot to Paralympian Neil Fachie.

4: DAVID WILKIE

Swimming — 200m Breaststroke & 200m Individual Medley Christchurch, 1974

Wilkie, on a scholarship in Miami, had to battle his American coach for permission to go to New Zealand - the perception being the Commonwealths were a two-bit meet. Wilkie was disappointed with silver in his first event, the 100m breaststroke, but was able to come back and take gold over 200m, and in the 200m medley - the best individual Games swimming haul by a Scot.

5: ALLAN WELLS

Athletics — 100m & 200m

Brisbane, 1982

Scotland's Olympic 100m champion had declined selection for the European Championships in Athens immediately before Brisbane, and there were doubts if he would be 100 per cent. But he took the 100m in 10.02, with a 5.9m wind at his back and Cameron Sharp third with 10.07. Wells' defence of the 200m title went down to the wire and he had to share gold in 20.43 with England's Mike McFarlane. He had travelled to Queensland intent on defending the 200m title he had won four years earlier in Edmonton, and when he retired he could at least do so in the knowledge he had never been beaten in a Commonwealth Games 200m.

6: ALISON SHEPPARD

Swimming — 50m freestyle Manchester, 2002

I have never seen a more nervous competitor than the Milngavie & Bearsden AC woman on the starting blocks. Her hands shook uncontrollably as she adjusted her goggles. She had been pipped for gold in 1998 and it seemed she must be overwhelmed, yet it all washed away when she hit the water, and we were soon celebrating the first Scottish women's individual swim gold since Elenor Gordon 48 years earlier. Sheppard, who was 29 and nearing the end of her career in Manchester, also took bronze in the 50m butterfly, giving her the match set of medals in her fourth Commonwealth Games.

7: LIZ LYNCH

Athletics — 10,000m Edinburgh, 1986

This victory - our only athletics gold of the boycott-stricken 13th Games - launched the career of Scotland's greatest female endurance runner, and the first of three successive 10,000m titles (Lynch in 1990 and Yvonne Murray in 1994). Lynch won a bet with bronze medallist Angela Tooby that she would not cry on the podium. Like depressingly many Scottish records, the one she set that day (31:41.42) is extant, and will celebrate its 28th birthday this year as Liz's daughter, Eilish McColgan, shapes up for inclusion in the team as a steeplechase runner.

8: GRAEME RANDALL

Judo — under-81kg; Manchester, 2002

Randall risked his life to claim gold. He might have retired after the trauma of the Sydney Olympics where, as world champion, he was eliminated in the first round. He felt he could not end his career on such a note, but by the time he got to Manchester he was suffering from a prolapsed disc in his neck. His victory on the mat, secured after a dramatic final battle with England's Thomas Cousins, ranks as one of the most courageous sporting triumphs I have seen.

9: DAVID JENKINS, ALLAN WELLS, CAMERON SHARP & DREW McMASTER

Athletics — 4x100m relay; Edmonton, 1978

Wells and McMaster detested one another so intensely that they would not exchange a baton. Jenkins, best known as a 400m man, had no experience of sprint baton passing, so he had to lead off and the order dictated itself. McMaster came home in a British record of 39.24 - still, rather dubiously, the Scottish record, given Jenkins' and McMaster's subsequent doping admissions.

10: ALISTER ALLAN

Shooting — smallbore rifle; Edmonton, 1978

"Why are you here?" Allan asked me when we met on the range. "This is like watching paint dry!" Yet I was transfixed as the Fifer proceeded to put one shot after another through a bullseye smaller than a five pence piece from 50 metres. This was a first title for the Scot who would go on to compile a record Scottish medal haul of 10 over five Commonwealth Games.

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