WITH four medals, and four different medallists, Scotland made its biggest ever contribution to a record Great Britain haul at the European Indoors in Glasgow earlier this month. Just don’t expect Stephen Maguire, the director of performance and coaching with scottishathletics, to wallow in the afterglow for too long.

The Northern Irishman’s lively mind is already looking forward to the next challenges on the horizon and for our top athletes and para athletes that means timing their run perfectly for Tokyo in the summer of 2020 with a detour through their respective world championships in Doha and Dubai respectively this September/October.

Garnering only marginally less headlines will be a World Indoor Championships in Nanjing, China, next March, and the small matter of an outdoor European Championships in Paris just a matter of weeks after Tokyo. Plenty of stuff to be getting your teeth into then, particularly when you are also tasked with attempting to make Scotland a hub for more coaching best practice like the hugely productive partnership between Andy Young and Laura Muir.

“For Laura, it’s quite clear,” says Maguire. “It’s about global and Olympic medals but for some of the others, it’s about opportunities. Laura’s the easy one… for the rest, it’s about reality. You can’t be patting people on the back and reflecting on past glories”

With the qualifying standards for Tokyo unveiled a fortnight ago, already in events such as the men’s 1500m there is the knowledge that four top athletes will be battling it out for a maximum of three spots for Tokyo. They are Glasgow 3,000m silver medallist Chris O’Hare, Neil Gourley – deprived of a shot at a 1500m medal by an untimely bout of sickness – Commonwealth and European medallist Jake Wightman and the fast-improving Josh Kerr. “I do hear some talking about getting a qualifying time,” says Maguire. “If that’s on your mind, you’re not going to get a medal. It shouldn’t be about qualification. For our top people, it’s about doing well in Doha not qualification itself. Look at the 1500m where our people are extremely good. Some of them could surprise with the right tactics or conditions in Doha.

“Others should try to qualify for Doha but it should be about world indoors in Nanjing. Or what do I need to do to get to Tokyo? Do I need to go to European Championships and put down a big marker or does that inhibit things. It’s about real conversations.

“So for people like Jake [Wightman] and Laura, they’ll be gunning at British trials and then onto Doha. Same for Chris O’Hare. But if you look at Josh Kerr, who’s not got much experience but has an unbelievable talent, it’s about plotting that course. He won’t be short of confidence.

“Neil is tremendous and if he’d not got sick, he’d have been in for a shout of a medal. Look at Chris’ hunger. All these guys, within Britain, it’s hot. But it needs to be - because it’s hot at world level. It is a dust-up. There are going to be disappointed people.”

So dominant has Scotland become in middle and long distance running that our lack of prowess in sprinting is easily brushed under the carpet. Maguire, typically, is having none of that. While the likes of Adam Thomas and Michael Olsen have made strides and Beth Dobbin reached a European 200m final last year, he quite simply doesn’t find the standards acceptable. “It’s an area we’re going to develop with a relay programme to train and compete together and use it as a coach and athlete vehicle,” he said. “It’s not acceptable that you can win an national title at 10.60. We’ve had Ian Mackie and Elliott Bunney in the past - and Allan Wells winning an Olympic title. Sprinting’s not disappeared. Something’s going wrong.”