So many of Scotland’s sporting greats are from the last few decades.

Andy Murray. Chris Hoy. Josh Taylor.

And then, if you go a wee bit further back, there’s Kenny Dalglish, Jackie Stewart, Ken Buchanan and Liz McColgan.

But there’s one name that’s refused to be displaced on every list of Scotland’s greatest sporting athletes for a century; Eric Liddell.

This week will be the 100th anniversary of Liddell becoming Olympic champion.

The Edinburgh man won 400m gold at the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris in what remains one of the greatest feats in Scottish sporting history. So remarkable was Liddell’s story, it was immortalised in the 1981 film, Chariots of Fire.

Liddell was born in 1902 to Scottish parents and went to school in China until he was 5 before relocating to boarding school in London.

As a teenager, he excelled at rugby before becoming known as the fastest sprinter in Scotland during his time studying at Edinburgh University.

In 1922, he won his first of seven international caps for Scotland’s national rugby union team but it was two years later, as a sprinter, that his achievements would propel him into Scottish sporting folklore.

Having been selected for GB’s team for the Paris Games in 1924, Liddell was strongly fancied as one of the gold medal favourites in the 100m.

Yet he was destined to not run in his preferred event.

Liddell, as the son of two missionaries, was highly religious and chose not to race on Sundays.

When the schedule for the Paris Games was released, it became apparent that Liddell would not be able to take part in the 100m heats falling, as they did, on a Sunday.

As soon as he realised this, he began training for the 400m, an event in which he was competent but certainly did not excel.

Liddell was able to run the 200m just days prior to the 400m, in which he won bronze. Despite that medal, though, he was forced to contend with some less than complimentary press coverage in the lead-up to the 400m in which much of the media expressed their disbelief that he’d prioritised God over Olympic 100m success.

The day of the 400m final arrived – the 11th of July 1926.

Ahead of the race, a team masseur passed Liddell a note with a quote from the Book of Samuel that was made famous in the aforementioned Chariots of Fire movie: “They that honour me, I will honour”.

Liddell went on to win the 400m by a significant margin of 6 metres, setting a new world record of 47.6 seconds. it was an astonishing performance.

In revealing his tactics after the conclusion of the 400m final, Liddell said:“The secret of my success over the 400m is that I run the first 200m as fast as I can. Then, for the second 200m, with God's help, I run faster.”

Eric Liddell's Olympic victory in 1924 remains one of the great Scottish sporting achievements

His Olympic title may be Liddell’s most renowned achievement but the remainder of his life was perhaps even more remarkable.

Following his success in Paris, the Scot committed fully to missionary work, returning to China in 1925 and being ordained as a minister in 1932. Japan invaded China in 1937 and the British government advised all British nationals to leave the country but despite his family leaving China for Canada, Liddell himself remained and in 1943, he was interned by the Japanese authorities in a camp at Weihsien.

Records show that life in the camp was indescribably harsh for all inhabitants and in the end, Liddell would not survive the war, although it was an illness unrelated to the invasion that would ultimately end his life.

He suffered a brain tumour not long before the conclusion of the war and died, at the age of just 43, in 1945.

His legacy lives on, however.

When Allan Wells won Olympic 100m gold in 1980, the sprinter dedicated his win to Liddell and following Steph Cook’s victory in the inaugural Olympic women’s modern pentathlon in 2000, she cited Liddell as one of her inspirations.

It’s fascinating to look back at Liddell’s races – there is the briefest video clip online of his Olympic win – with his distinct style which saw him run with his chin tilted to the sky and his body upright. The ash-grey cinder track on which the 1924 Olympics took place is a world away from the high-tech tartan tracks of today. And the competitors are dressed almost identically all in white with only their numbers pinned onto their chest able to be used to distinguish them from each other.

Liddell’s best 400m time of 47.6 seconds, while slower than the current world record of 43.03 seconds set by Wayde van Niekerk in 2016, remains highly respectable considering it was a century ago.

The comparison between eras remains fascinating to me, despite the fact it’s utterly futile in the sense that a definitive conclusion as to whose achievements deserve greater credit can never be settled upon.

But it’s hard to believe that Liddell, if competing today with modern spikes, on state-of-the-art tracks and with the luxury of being a full-time athlete wouldn’t still be one of, if not the very best in the world.

We will, of course, never know if that’s true.

But what is certain is that Liddell’s achievements, and particularly his Olympic title, have endured over a century and he quite rightly remains a permanent fixture on almost every list of Scotland’s greatest athletes of all-time.

100 years on from that Olympic gold medal-winning run, Liddell’s story remains as compelling as ever.