"I hate this thing that we are a small nation who punch above our weight," he said. "That to me is a negative. We are a fantastically proud nation - what's wrong with saying that? When we get things right, we do them better than any other country in the world. Let's not hide under the umbrella of 'we're a small nation'. That really gets my goat."
Speaking at the launch of Achieve 2014, a programme to inspire and mentor a new generation of stars, the former Scotland rugby captain added: "I would love to know what clown came up with the idea of 'best small nation in the world'."
Hastings said he believed sportsmen and women had taken over as new global superstars. "I think the Usain Bolts, Tiger Woods, Ronaldos and Messis, they are global superstars in a way that actors and actresses are not," he said. "The Commonwealth Games is a massive potential springboard to future success. It's tremendously exciting that it's on our doorstep in a year's time."
Achieve 2014 will provide 126 athletes and coaches with a behind-the-scenes view of the Games next summer with the aim of helping them prepare for future events, including the 2018 event in Australia. Alumni include long jumper Jade Nimmo, who was named in Team Scotland last week. Weightlifter Georgi Black and hockey player Michael Bremner, who hope to compete in Glasgow, are among its other successes. All three were among 28 athletes who travelled to Delhi in 2010.
Hastings, as ambassador to the programme, said he hoped an "old, grizzled has-been like myself" could pass on something that might light the spark. "What we have to try and pass on is that it's natural to feel, for want of a better word, s**t scared," he said. "The more times you are put out of your comfort zone, the more comfortable you become."
When it comes to the Commonwealth Games, if is his belief that Scotland takes its Rugby Sevens "pretty damn seriously", something he hoped would be reflected next summer.
"My fervent hope would be that one or two of our high profile fifteens players would be competing for Scotland in the Commonweath Games sevens," he said. "I will give you one name: Stuart Hogg. I think he would be well suited to playing sevens as a one-off.
"Purely as a person that the Scotland rugby public could get behind, I would personally love to see him in the sevens."