This time next year, Glasgow 2014 will be over.

The streets will have been swept clean after the closing ceremony on Sunday, August 3. Commonwealth Games dreams will have been dashed or fulfilled. So what are the prospects for Scotland's track and field athletes?

While the sport has enjoyed a welcome upturn in depth and breadth of performance, world impact remains modest. Our highest-ranked Commonwealth athlete is Mark Dry, No.50 in the world but Commonwealth No.1 in men's hammer. Two other Scots, Andy Frost and Chris Bennett, are in the hammer's Commonwealth top six. The leading world-ranked Scot is Eilidh Child, seventh in the 400 metres hurdles, and second in the Commonwealth. West Linton's Chris O'Hare is 44th in the world this year at 1500m but, of 11 Kenyans ahead of him, only three can run in the Games. Mo Farah, second fastest in the world, seems unlikely to contest this in Glasgow and O'Hare is seventh among those likely to run the 1500m in Glasgow.

Scotland's best Commonwealth athletics performance was four gold, two silver, and two bronze in 1970, in Edinburgh. The year prior to that, as now, there was no hint of a gold rush.

The only Scot ranked No.1 in the Commonwealth was Rosemary Payne, in the discus, although "Bud" was a modest 41st in the world. She took gold in Edinburgh, but the three other winners were unheralded. We must hope for a repeat next year at Hampden.

Rosemary Stirling won the women's 800m in 1970, having been 15th in the world and fourth in the Commonwealth the previous year. Ian Stewart, who won 5000m gold, ranked sixth with 13min 36.4sec in 1969, while Ian McCafferty, who took silver behind Stewart, was not even in the top 100, with 14:13.6. Yet the two Scots ran 13.22.8 and 13:23.4 - the third and fourth quickest times ever - for a famous one-two in Edinburgh.

Scotland had one defending champion in 1970: Jim Alder. He had won the marathon in Kingston in 1966 but, in 1969, was 21st in the world and seventh in the Commonwealth. He took silver behind Ron Hill in Edinburgh.

The most iconic 1970 victory was that of Lachie Stewart, in the 10,000 metres. He won the first final, beating Ron Clarke who had held the world best for five years, one of 17 world records the Australian set in his career. Stewart had ranked only 33rd in the world in 1969, 47 seconds behind Clarke, struggling to make the top 10 in Britain, never mind the Commonwealth.

Unlike today's Lottery-supported competitors, Stewart worked. There was no institute of sport, no medical back-up, and he was self-coached. Training was to and from home in Cathcart and work as a dental mechanic in Glasgow's dental hospital. "And at lunchtime I would run out to Glasgow University's track at Westerlands," he told me this week.

Central to his success was an offer from a dental professor. "He said I could use the locker next to him. It was a room with a shower, which the registrars used. I'd changed departments, to orthodontics, and had an extra 10 minutes. That possibly gave me the wee extra lift, to get the extra distance. Otherwise I could not have fitted in these sessions. And that only started in the spring of 1970.

"Four days a week I would run 20-22 miles, depending what I was racing at the weekend. I always liked to race at weekends: just my fast run for the week. I did not really treat that as a race. In 1970 John Anderson [national coach] said I was racing too much. I was only over 100 miles per week on three occasions and did not feel very good on it. I ran 90 miles in three days and wasn't worth a button. I had to take two days off."

A year out from the Games, Stewart had given no thought to his medal prospects. "I was more concerned as to whether I would be on the team."

However, when he lined up in Edinburgh, he believed he had a chance. "In the Scottish championships my winning time was the world's best for the year so far. By the time the gun went, a Canadian, Jerome Drayton, had run faster, but I thought if I ran okay, I could maybe get bronze. I'd never have thought I'd have won it.

"In the summer of 1969, I was simply thinking about making the Games and performing well, but when anyone enters a competition, it is to win. If you have done the work, you are in with a chance, and my philosophy was that you are only as good as your last race. Basically my aim was to make the team. You never know what can happen with selections."

The sprint with which Stewart destroyed Clarke, then the most prolific endurance record-breaker in history, is legendary. He also left Naftali Temu, Kenya's reigning Olympic 10k champion, buried in the field.

Stewart was never beaten in the final 100 metres of any race, and laid the foundations as a child in relay races round the block at his home, and along the banks of the Leven. "When I won races at school they gave us postage stamps, 7/6d [37½ pence] for a win. You could cash them at the Post Office. I did quite well out of that." It would have cost him his amateur status if the Scottish Amateur Athletics Association had ever found out.

"It was a different ball game when I ran on the continent. People were winning fridges and motor bikes, then selling them. Harold Abrahams [Olympic 100m champion in 1924] held British athletics back for years. In Chariots of Fire they showed how the head boys from Oxford and Cambridge treated him as an athlete. It was exactly the way he treated everybody else when he became the great statesman of British athetics. He was not very well liked by the athletes."

Stewart went to his local club, aged 15. "I'd no coach. I'd join the quarter mile lads doing 4 x 400, then the lads doing sprints, and then the guys doing 200m reps. That was their individual session and I was doing all three, just because I enjoyed it! I never did have a coach as such. People asked why. Well, who would I get? I was already beating their athletes.

"The only thing I did was get a book by Franz Stampfl, on what he did with Bannister, Chataway and Brasher [in delivering the first sub four-minute mile]. That gave me the impetus to step up the amount of repetitions, but I shortened the recoveries he was giving his lads in England."

He asked for the book as his prize for the best student in his final year of dental mechanics, in 1961. "I just modified Stampfl. I'd just finished night school, and in three weeks my performances started to improve."

Ironically, Stampfl had coached Clarke as a junior, and provoked him to quit the sport for a while.

"Clarke was a hero of mine," said Stewart. "I thought he was great against the clock, but as soon as you put someone in the race capable of beating him the mental attitude seemed to come into it, and he couldn't deliver the goods. I had won a lot of races through mental attitude, against Ian McCafferty. So it was a matter of getting up there with Clarke. But I never thought about that a year from the Games.

"A year out, I didn't think Scotland had many people capable of winning medals. McCaff and I were the only Scots who did not rate themselves second-class citizens when they raced in England. Ian Stewart, I didn't consider because, as far as I was concerned, he was English.

"On the run-up to 1970, everyone was pulling out the stops to make the team and do well. I'm sure it's exactly the same now. We might find a couple coming out the woodwork with it being in Scotland."

He remarks on current athletes reaching their thirties "without doing a day's work in their lives", but is not envious. "I enjoyed what I was doing at the time. I don't know what I would do the rest of the day if I didn't work. And there are only so many hours you can spend building scale model boats [his other passion] because you would soon get fed up."

He builds from scratch, more than 80 boats over the years, from a 12ft 8ins model of the Bismarck (powered by three Fiat radiator fan motors bought from a scrap yard for £5) to paddle steamer minesweepers and fully functioning submarines. He uses shipyard plans, and often films vessels before their launch, for accuracy of detail. He resolved technical problems while training. His pleasure now is sailing them on Loch Lomond with his grandchildren.

Stewart was as analytical and meticulous about his running as with his models, yet his experience and expertise was ignored. When he sat a coaching exam (and passed) he was told he should have had more speedwork in his programme. It was the one he had used to coach his son, Glen, to British records. He was later passed over when a Scottish coaching post was considered. "They said I'd no certificates. They didn't bother checking, or they'd have found I have two."

When he phoned about an advert for a Scottish athletics coaching post he was told applications closed the next day. "I'd no access to a fax, so I just let it go."

Little wonder Stewart's record and those of his contemporaries celebrated their 43rd birthday last month. There is every likelihood they will also survive Glasgow 2014.

"We were running so fast, it will take somebody very good to beat them," says Stewart, "If somebody nails mine, I would be pleased for them, but when I think of the training I had to do to reach that level, I don't think there is anyone training as hard these days."