EVEN now, 32 years and counting since that first iconic Commonwealth Games gold in Edinburgh, Liz McColgan-Nuttall is still prepared to go the extra mile for Scotland. Just plain Liz Lynch back then, she was known by her married name by the time another triumph over 10,000m distance followed at the Auckland games of 1990. That was pretty much nine months before Eilish, her first child, came along. And that is what brings the 53-year-old back to Australasia this Spring as a coach, doing more of the hard yards to help her daughter bring back what would be a symbolic and hugely popular medal from Down Under in the next three weeks.

Mother and daughter are already out in the sun of the Gold Coast, working away methodically with the help of training partner Michael Rimmer, but this is no orthodox coaching arrangement. How could it be when it combines Manchster – where McColgan is mainly based – and Doha, where Liz and her husband run a coaching group. Self-employed or not, Liz is aware that now is the time that Eilish needs her most.

Having finally talked her into abandoning steeplechase hopes which saw her reach two Olympic games but left her with horrendous injury problems, and led indirectly to a funding cut, she feels a medal should be expected of her daughter, most likely in the 5,000m – although when the entry sheets went in for this year’s games McColgan Jnr was entered into the 1500m, the 5,000m and the 10,000m regardless of a timetable where the 10,000m final and 1500m heats are separated by approximately an hour.

“Realistically, at the Commonwealth Games, we should expect her to get a medal,” said McColgan-Nuttall. “Both of us are going there knowing what she’s capable of doing.

“It’s never easy to win a medal, especially as an endurance athlete in the Commonwealth Games,” she added. “It’s tough, really tough, when you look at the Kenyans and other athletes – and the British girls are now among the best in the world. But I think she’s looking at a medal, if we do everything right. We will have five weeks out in the Gold Coast, really focusing on the Games.”

Eilish doubled up in the 1500m and the 5000m at the World Indoor Championships in Birmingham but ultimately wasn’t particularly happy with either performance. The good news if that further shots at redemption await, first in the Gold Coast and then in the European Championships in Berlin in August.

“I think the plan we have this year is very good,” says Liz. “The way the year has panned out, there is a lot of responsibility on me as a coach. I’m fortunate in that I know what works and what doesn’t for her. Peaking three times is difficult. Hopefully it works out.

“I think Eilish will run very, very fast over the 10 k but it’s just not the right time and place for her,” she added. “Yet. She’s come to it late. She doesn’t have the miles that a lot of the others have in them. So, although she’s 27, in terms of projection for 10k running, she’s still quite young. We have to build that up. Over the next four years, that’s when the shift is going to start taking place. But I think she can run a really good 5k, a fast 5k, and that’s the goals just now.”

As for this unique coaching arrangement, needs must. “It’s really, really difficult,” said Liz. “That’s where other people have an advantage, a coach being with them every day. If your eyes and ears aren’t there, you can’t judge things, you can only go on the whim of the athlete and what they’re telling you. Eilish is very good, very honest and up front with me, she tells me everything, so it’s a very tight bond.

“But having three weeks together over Christmas made a difference. Even just in those few weeks over Christmas, I changed a few things based on seeing how she was running, what was needed and what wasn’t.

“Between myself and my husband, we’re both trying to support her better. John went to Kenya with her for training, we both work off each other, so he delivered the programme in Kenya – and I go to the Commonwealth Games.

“When you’re self-employed, that’s what you need to do. I don’t have the luxury of being a paid coach, I’m self-employed and need to support myself. Because she’s getting to that level now, if we don’t invest our time and efforts, she won’t reach her potential and hit the heights she can get to.”

Eilish flew out to the Gold Coast on March 9, with Liz just two days behind her, symbolic of preparatory work which is leaving nothing to chance. “It is important to go out almost a month ahead of competition because we needed the weather,” said Liz. “We haven’t been able to use altitude because the only places at altitude in Australia don’t have a running track. At this stage, it’s more important for Eilish to have a running track, rather than working on trails. We just went for the good weather, a good four or five weeks to get the turnover she needs to run fast. I think the Commonwealth Games final will be fast. She’ll need to be fast to compete.

“We have to support her," she added. "We’re very lucky in that there is a guy called Norman Poole, who has his own training group in Manchester, and he works with Eilish. He has been very, very accommodating with us. If I have a very, very specific thing I need done, something where I need Eilish too be monitored, he will adapt to what we need. But it’s not enough, we need to start being there more often.

“There’s nothing worse than being on your own, all the time, doing everything I did that as an athlete and I don’t think it’s the best scenario. You need a training group, you need feedback and input.”

McColgan-Nuttall, of course, is no stranger to the upsurge of Scottish running talent she sees around her each day, having spent some time working with the likes of Callum Hawkins when they were younger. She is hopeful that this year’s games can outdo even her heyday when it comes to medals, even if Eilish’s Dundee Hawkhill Harriers clubmate Laura Muir isn’t here to lead the charge.

“It’s unfortunate that Laura isn’t there but she’s got her veterinary studies that she needs to take care of,” said McColgan-Nuttall. “We’ve still got a massive wealth of great athletes. It’s important to remember that.

“Jake Wightman is up and coming, Steph Twell is on the turnaround again,” she added. “Callum Hawkins is great. We’re I think that there’s not just one person in Scotland who is good. We are very, very strong and have great strength in depth. in a fortunate position to have such a good group. Scottish athletics are very, very supportive of the group they’ve got, how they deal with the coaches, giving as much support as they can

“So I think we’re going to have a great Games. It’s always hard to say how many medals we’re going to win. But I think we’ll have a great opportunity – one of the better opportunities – of winning more medals than we’ve ever won. And that’s all you can hope for.”