SCOTLAND'S hopes of relay glory at next year's Commonwealth Games lie with a nine-day-old baby.

Lee McConnell gave birth to Ethan on Hallowe'en, and mum admitted yesterday: "He's already got me wound round his little finger."

The Glasgow woman aspires to a fourth Commonwealth Games at Hampden at the age of 35, but prospects of qualifying for the individual 400 metres, and the 4 x 400m where the Scotland quartet is emerging as a medal contender, will owe much to her son's disposition.

"It will depend on his temperament to a certain extent - how easy it is for me to get back. If he is quite a handful, that will make it harder. At the moment he is pretty chilled out - relaxed, happy, and content. He seems lazy and sleeps a lot, but if that changes, it could make it very difficult. But there could be no bigger incentive than a home Games. If it was not in Glasgow, then I'd not have considered continuing."

McConnell finished her last training session just 44 hours before delivery; six two-minute runs on a cross-trainer, with an 80-second recovery, and a session on a machine for shoulder and upper body strength.

"That was on Tuesday evening," she says. "Contractions started just after midnight on Wednesday, but I didn't go to hospital until Thursday lunchtime, and I was in the labour suite for only about 20 minutes before Ethan was born. The last hour and a half was tough, but otherwise it was pretty manageable."

Husband Craig, she says, "is smitten with Ethan." Together they have been renovating a property in Netherlee, and moved in a month before the birth.

Despite her absence from competition, she is in touch: "Scotland's athletes have done really well this year. That's been good to see. A lot of athletes have really stepped up and made the qualifying standards. Hopefully next year they can improve again.

"We need a good team, in terms of numbers. You have to fill as many spots as you can at a home Games. It's a good motivation factor, in your home country. If qualifying standards are a little bit soft, I think that's fine. People have progressed more because they have got that target, rather than feeling it's out of their reach. They have stretched themselves and may now have found the confidence to stretch themseves even more, and have an impact when they turn up at Hampden."

She herself would love to add to a trophy chest which includes world, European, and Commonwealth medals - and if doping rules were upheld, would also include an Olympic one.

"Glasgow 2014 is very much my focus. That's the whole point of training as close to the birth as possible - to be as fit as possible at that point. Now I need to see how quick I can get back. That's unknown, but at least the first part went well. I was on the track until a month to six weeks before the birth. Now it's how about how quick I recover, and how much sleep Ethan is going to allow me.

"I don't think it will be clear as to whether I will be able to compete at the required level for the Games until March or April. I'm not going to compete unless I am really fit. I definitely want to do the individual 400 metres as well as the relay. I've always enjoyed running the relay well, whether for Scotland or Britain, so I'd be keen to remain part of that team. On paper Scotland is capable of putting out a stronger squad than for many years, but I also want to run as an individual athlete.

"Scott, my therapist, who does a lot of my strength and conditioning, has done a lot of research on what we need to do. Things can move when you have had a baby, so we need to look at the mechanics and structure - get everything back in line. Everything becomes pretty loose. I need to get my core strength up, to ensure that when I get back on track I don't have injuries off the back of pregnancy."

Former world and Commonwealth champion Liz McColgan famously ran 12 days after giving birth, and took world cross-country bronze less than four months later.

"I am not looking to challenge that," laughs McConnell. "I think it will be four to six weeks before I'm back on track, and it will be a late start to the season. Hopefully, I will know fairly early whether I am going to be capable of getting the qualifying standard, and get back to the level I'd be happy running at in Glasgow. That's the determining factor. I just want to be competitive at the Games.

"I always think I can run faster than I have before, but this I can't say for definite. There are hormones from pregnancy that help make a female athlete stronger, and help cope with pain. That would be handy. Having gone through labour, 400 metres training does not seem that bad. It would be great if I can come out the other of this and be able to compete in Glasgow, but it will only be if I can compete well."