SOME of the country’s biggest names in sport will be in Scotland today ahead of this evening’s 2014 BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.
Edinburgh-born Sir Chris Hoy will be honoured with the lifetime achievement award at the event at the SSE Hydro arena in Glasgow.
The ceremony comes on the back of a bumper year for Scottish sport, with the country playing host to both the Commonwealth Games and Ryder Cup.
But despite Team Scotland having its best ever medal haul at the Games, Sir Chris Hoy is the only Scot who will be celebrated at tonight’s glitzy event.
Only English, Welsh and Northern Irish contenders make up the top ten shortlist for the BBC Sports Personality awards.
Golfer Rory McIlroy is the outright favourite to take the honour at tonight’s ceremony.
In a year in which McIlroy has claimed both the Open and US PGA titles and finished as world No 1 in the rankings, only Lewis Hamilton, the Formula One world champion, is considered to have a chance of winning according to the bookmakers.
After claiming his second Formula One world title a fortnight ago in Abu Dhabi, Hamilton’s odds have shortened considerably and he is pushing McIlroy to the wire.
The joint-third favourites, Jo Pavey and Gareth Bale, are at 50/1, with the rest of the ten-person shortlist – including the equestrian Charlotte Dujardin and the Olympic skeleton champion Lizzy Yarnold – rated as massive outsiders.
CONNECT WITH THE SCOTSMAN
• Subscribe to our daily newsletter (requires registration) and get the latest news, sport and business headlines delivered to your inbox every morning
In a competition dominated by men, long-distance runner Pavey has been gathering support.
The 40 year-old won the 10,000m gold medal at the 2014 European Championships in Zurich – just ten months after giving birth to her second child.
Her victory in Zurich made her the oldest female European champion in the competitions history.
This year she also won a heroic bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, breaking the world record for women over 40 by almost 12 seconds.
Joint third favourite with Pavey is Welsh footballer Bale – the world’s most expensive player, who shrugged off the £85 million price tag to enjoy a dazzling debut season at Real Madrid, clocking up 22 goals and 16 assists.
Dujardin, who won two gold medals at the World Equestrian Games in dressage, and boxer Carl Froch are also in contention.
Also nominated are Kelly Gallagher and her guide Charlotte Evans, who became the first competitors from the UK to clinch a Winter Paralympics gold medal as they won the visually impaired Super-G in Sochi.
The Northern Irish skier, helped by Kent-based Evans, negotiated the tricky Rosa Khutor course in one minute 28.72 seconds to take gold.
English swimmer Adam Peaty broke into the world elite this year as he became a double Commonwealth gold medallist and a four-time European champion at the age of just 19. Gymnast Max Whitlock, and women’s skeleton champion Lizzy Yarnold, make up the ten contenders.
If hot favourite Rory McIlroy does take the gong, the Northern Irishman will become only the third golfer in the 61-year history of the ceremony to be awarded the accolade.
Not since 1989, when Sir Nick Faldo won the first of two successive Green Jackets at the Masters, has a golfer been selected as the nation’s favourite performer, with the sport’s previous success coming in 1957, when Welshman Dai Rees beat Stirling Moss into second place.
SCOTSMAN TABLET AND IPHONE APPS