IT is hard to imagine a more mind-mangling manner to reach a medal target. Ian Beattie, the chairman of scottishathletics, is reflecting on another positive year for one of Scotland’s sporting success stories, with strands as diverse as strategy launches for clubs and key appointments to both the boardroom and the performance department. But where better to start than the final day at the Gold Coast, when they were left looking to the men’s marathon to fulfil their stated aim of exceeding the four athletics medals won at Glasgow 2014?

With jobs, funding, all resting on such things, happily that fifth medal – to go with those already provided by Eilidh Doyle, Jake Wightman, Mark Dry, Maria Lyle – was duly delivered. It just didn’t come from the expected source.

“We were about the 36k point which was just near our hotel when we watched Callum [Hawkins] come past,” recalls Beattie. “I grew up in the BB in Kilbarchan with his dad Robert and we tried to spread ourselves out so he had support all long the run. I timed him and he was two minutes and 43 seconds ahead at that point with 6k to go.”

From there it was down to the big screen on the beach, where temperatures in mid-morning were said to be reaching 30 degrees in the shade and one Scotsman’s agony unfolded in front of his eyes without the merest commentary. “Mark [Munro, the scottishathletics chief executive] said he thought he had wobbled a bit but he is a bit more pessimistic than me,” says Beattie. “Then we watched down to the big screen and like everybody else we could see that he was struggling but there was no commentary. The first time he went down you thought he had such a big lead that he could maybe have walked to the end. Then the second time you could tell he was just gone.”

There was to be no happy ending for Hawkins, other than the fact he happily sustained no lasting damage once hospital checks were done. But, as Australians passed on their sympathy to Beattie for his fallen countryman, what should come into view than another Scottish vest, that worn by Robbie Simpson of Banchory. Beattie, a man with an endurance background of his own and organiser of the West Highland Way race, watched the man with the hill-running background coast to the bronze which saw Scotland tick off their medal target even despite the fact that big hitters such as Laura Muir and the injured Andy Butchart and Jax Thoirs didn’t take part.

“We watched the Australian guy [Michael Shelley] go past, and thought this is it,” added Beattie. “Then, almost out the corner of the eye, we saw this Scottish vest - because Robbie had been eighth when he had gone past us, so we had all the emotion of that too. We had media stuff to do which was hard - I went to the hotel and Mark went up to the hospital. Then because we were nine hours ahead, Scotland woke up and we had all the social media stuff so we had to do it all again. It was a very, very emotional day, one of the very oddest. To achieve our medal target on the very last day like this, it was an interesting and stressful week really.”

While Beattie confidently forecasts great things for both Hawkins and Simpson in 2019 – the former will hope to contend in a midnight marathon at the World Championships in Doha in October – that frantic last day was merely a snapshot of a 12-month period where Muir got a taxi ride through the snow to capture her first global medals at the World Indoor Championships in Birmingham, then took her first major outdoor gold at the Europeans in Berlin as part of a 17-strong Scottish contingent in the GB squad. The emergence of Beth Dobbin disproved the theory there are no good Scottish sprinters and justified the governing body’s efforts to gain more opportunities for athletes to compete for Scotland and ensure their interests are not compromised by political manoeuvring at UK Athletics.

If such daring medal-winning exploits are the cherry on top, the association’s daily bread is ensuring a thriving club scene. Persuading London 2017 relay hero Stephen Maguire back north to Scotland and getting a board seat for Eilidh Doyle are other positive developments these last 12 months. There are further opportunities to grow the sport in 2019, not least as the European Indoor Athletics Championships takes place in Glasgow..

“All that was at the top end but we’ve also seen our clubs continue to develop really strongly which has been great,” says the accountant at Lindsays solicitors. “It is part of a continuum. If we can get our club scene right, we will hopefully continue to see athletes come through that pathway. At the moment, like every other sport, we are waiting to hear from SportScotland the outline funding for the next four years. We have put in a fairly ambitious proposal and we should hear back in the New Year as to whether that has been accepted.”