MAYBE the talent drain in Scottish sport is reversible after all. In order to tap into the resources required to make them the best in the world, many of our best sportspeople have previously tended to leave the country, but the personal journey currently being undertaken by Canada’s Gabriela Stafford suggests that athletics might be about to buck that trend.

Visitors to the Glasgow Athletics Association miler meet at the Emirates Arena on Friday night witnessed this 23-year-old from Toronto taking half a minute off the Canadian indoor 5,000m record as she followed Laura Muir over the finishing line, thoroughly validating her decision to cross the Atlantic Ocean to make Glasgow her new base camp, as she trains alongside the likes of Muir, Jemma Reekie and Sol Sweeney under the watchful eye of Andy Young. With Eilidh Doyle back north of the border too, with a board role with the governing body no less, plenty of athletic talent seems to be migrating towards Scotland right now, rather than away from it.

“I’m actually moving back for the winter just to finish my degree [in physical science] in Toronto but I have decided to move to this group which has been an amazing experience,” said Stafford. “I am just so grateful to them for taking me on!”

Stafford, who got the opportunity at first as she was part of the same sports agency, speaks glowingly both of Muir the athlete and Muir the person. Not all athletes are quite so open when it comes to welcoming incomers to your training group who compete over the same distance. Having said that, Muir’s example has also taught her just how much more mentally tough she has to become as an athlete when it comes to competing at the sharp end. She might be polite to a fault, but few people in world sport have made more sacrifices to succeed than the 25-year-old from Milnathort.

“I didn’t know her very well. But she is amazing. She has been so gracious and so supportive and welcoming of me. She has been so friendly and she is a really kind person.

“The training is very different here obviously,” she added. “I thought I was a mentally tough person but coming here has showed me that I have to be much more mentally tough just to keep up! That is a big point of improvement for me, just improving that temperament.”

If there is something which links athletes like Muir, Stafford, Reekie and Sweeney, it is that even significant milestones can be met with a shrug and then a look ahead to the next challenge down the line. Sweeney, for instance, trimmed four seconds of his indoor 3,000m PB last Friday then declared he had been hoping to go quicker still.

“Everyone is working very hard, but everyone is also very chilled and laid back,” says Stafford. “I used to get really anxious around work outs and stuff but everyone here is down to earth but still intense so it is a good balance.”

Some good old-fashioned Scottish humour is part of the package, but Stafford – progressing well ahead of a tilt at the world championships in Doha in September – might just have the last laugh.

“Andy loves his Coca Cola and he has been lovely, very welcoming as well,” says Stafford. “He sometimes makes fun of me, but that is just the Scottish sense of humour, isn’t it?! I am Canadian, I know how to take a punch or two.”