DOES the unique one-two by Scotland's Callum Hawkins and Andrew Butchart at Britain's trials for the European cross-country Championships herald the dawn of an overdue revival for Scottish men's endurance running?

I believe it might. By any standards, the outcome of Saturday's contest in Liverpool was spectacular. The trial for the senior and under-23 teams for the Europeans in Samokov a week on Saturday was combined, and Kilbarchan's Hawkins out-lasted his Central rival by two seconds at the line. Hawkins' nomination to lead Britain's under-23 team (the squads are announced tomorrow) is a formality, as is that of Butchart for the senior contingent. Double Commonwealth finalist Luke Caldwell finished fourth, also ensuring his place.

Though Hawkins had Butchart's measure in claiming the Scottish cross-country crown last February, Butchart, who turns 23 in October, had gone unbeaten in 10 races this winter and is now about to make his GB debut in a major championship. His rise has been meteoric, after discovery of a dormant work ethic.

He took the Scottish 4k cross-country title three weeks ago, posted the fastest stage of the Scottish cross-country relays, and the remarkable double of fastest in both the English six and 12-stage relay championships. He took the Scottish 10k title on the road at Stirling in September and on his last head-to-head with Hawkins, the Leeds Abbey Dash 10k, he held off his rival by four seconds. Yesterday was his first time off the top step of the podium in any race since August 2.

By his own admission, Butchart was playing at the sport, getting by on natural ability without serious training until early last year. He took third in the Scottish schools cross-country championships at the first attempt, aged 16, and was third under-17 in the UK schools international on just one athletics session a week, plus football training. "I won at Dunblane High School no bother, but when I went to the Scottish schools cross, I was still up there with guys who took it a lot more seriously than I did."

Just 20 months ago he was drafted into the Scottish cross-country team. He finished third under-23.

"I thought, if I can do this when I'm not training, what can I do if I put more miles in? So from then on I have stepped it up a bit. I wasn't really concentrating on athletics that much. I wasn't really bothered. My mileage has doubled to between 70 and 80. I used to play a lot of sports, mainly tennis and football. Now I don't, in case of injury. I try to be sensible.

"It got me thinking: I might as well give it a good bash and, having done so, I believe I can definitely achieve something in the sport. I will just keep pushing and see where I can go."

As a teenager, he had less commitment than many average club athletes. "And I had a better social life. I have given up a lot to get where I am now. I don't keep up with my old school mates from years ago. It's all about running now. Before, I'd go out for a drink. I was just like any other teenage kid - naughty in the streets about town, out with friends, having a laugh.

"It's all about training now, getting the miles in. I had to take it more seriously. I don't see why I can't achieve anything I want. I'd like to get better ranked in Britain at 5000 metres, improve my speed at 800 and 1500, and bring that into my endurance. I want to start knocking on the door of teams for major championships.

"I had hoped for 2014 selection at 1500m and went to the US to chase the qualifying time, but got injured. I realised I had to make a few adjustments to my life: train harder, go part-time at work and be more involved with my coach and training group."

He did an HNC in biological science, "but didn't enjoy it. I started work at Gleneagles Hotel as fitness instructor and lifeguard about three years ago. Both my parents support me every way they can, financially and day to day, making my dinner, stuff like that."

He and Hawkins worked together on Saturday, "to ensure we were in the team. Callum had just a bit more left in the tank, and got the win. It was a good field - a lot just back from Kenya, and training abroad.

"I think Callum has a great shout for an under-23 medal in Bugaria. I hope he does really well. It's a new experience for me. I want to come back as one of the top British guys, and do well as a team."

Do they get on well? There's a four-second pause, a laugh: "I think it's a love-hate relationship. If I win, he's angry. If he wins, I'm angry."

He is disappointed in the negativity of GB World cross-country championship policy. Britain will send only athletes capable of being in the top 30 to China next March. "I'll try to demonstrate I can make the top 30. I need to keep proving myself. They obviously have the money to send a team. If they can, why don't they send one?"