Scottish Olympian Beth Potter has declared that it is ‘now or never’ after quitting her job as a teacher to focus full-time on her athletics career.

The 25-year-old - who is based in London, training with fellow Scot Steph Twell, last year’s European 5000m bronze medallist, but grew up in Bearsden, starting her running career with the Victoria Park club - has been through some testing times in her career to date.

Ahead of the Commonwealth Games in 2014 health and injury problems had been such that she had to be persuaded by coach Mick Woods not to give up the sport.

Her decision not to has been rewarded not only by that involvement in her home city, where she competed in both the 5000m and 10,000m – finishing ninth and fifth respectively - but with an Olympic appearance in Rio last summer.

Potter is on record as admitting that long hours have required to be spent with a sports psychologist to turn mental fragility into a strength in recognising how much she has achieved simply by refusing to quit, while she has drawn inspiration from the way Twell has battled back from injury setbacks, most notably a triple ankle break.

However her decision to take a break from her job as a teacher is symptomatic of the current mood within a Scottish athletics community that is growing in confidence as leading performers drive one another to ever greater heights.

“I’ve given up my teaching job. I’m now full-time,” she revealed.

“I’ve nothing to lose. Now is the time. It’s now or never.”

She admitted that it has involved some heartache, not because of any regrets about committing to athletics but because, since starting three years ago, she has enjoyed her job, teaching Physics at a school in Twickenham which has been very supportive.

“I’m glad I made the decision although I’m missing everyone dearly at school, especially the kids,” she said, with a wistful smile.

“My school down in Twickenham were really good in allowing me a month off to go training at altitude last year.”

Too good for their own good perhaps, since the time she was able to spend concentrating solely on her running helped her understand what she needs to do if she is to improve on what she has described as a disappointing 34th place finish in that Olympic 10,000 metres race.

“They also allowed me some time off after the Olympics. I was on holiday after the Games and it allowed me some time to think about what I wanted to do. I just think over the next five years, when I’m young, I should give it a go,” Potter explained.

“It was quite an easy decision. I’ve got my teaching qualification so if I need to pick up money here and there I can do supply. There are always teacher roles in supply but it will be nice to focus on athletics.”

It still takes courage to make that call, but that quality has become the hallmark of this Scottish athletics resurgence as competitively exemplified in the early days of 2017 with Laura Muir’s Scottish record breaking solo run over 5000m at The Emirates Arena last week and the way she followed that up by leading the British team to victory in The Stewart Cup at the weekend’s Simply Health Great Edinburgh XCountry, where Callum Hawkins’ latest front-running effort also earned further plaudits.

Potter finished just ahead of Twell, in 14th spot in the women’s 6K race at that international cross country meet at Holyrood on Saturday, but both are currently working out their schedules in preparation for the year’s big target of getting to the World Championships in London in August.

“At the moment, I need to sit down with my coach, maybe do something on the road, do some training and then go for the trials in May,” she said.

“I’ve not seen the benefits of it (going full-time) yet because they’ve just gone back to school so we’ll see how that goes, but it means I’ll have more time to train and recover between sessions.”

In keeping with the mood of the moment, she can draw confidence from knowing she is giving herself every chance by going for it.