With 44 medals tucked away in their baggage as they head home from the Gold Coast, Team Scotland can be proud of having put on their best ever performance at a Commonwealth Games.
That is the verdict of the team’s performance director, Mike Whittingham, who declared that the medal haul was 20 more than his own expectations.
Although falling nine short of the 53 that were won during the Glasgow Games four years ago, he believes that the successes achieved by Scotland’s athletes in Australia outweighed those of 2014.
While this year’s efforts produced the second highest ever tally at a Commonwealth Games, the fact that it was the best result at an overseas event placed it at the top of the pile, Whittingham suggested.
He also cited the fact that, in Glasgow 13 home medals were won in judo, which was not included in this year’s programme.
“You could deduct those 13,” said Whittingham, pictured right. “(So) That’s almost, arguably, the best-ever result by a Scottish team.
“In Glasgow, we won six golds on the judo programme but the judo programme isn’t here.
“I’m delighted. We’ve reached our headline goal. I was hoping for over 35 medals.
“Athletes win medals, but I’d like to think that systems win them consistently and what we’ve been doing since 2010 is consistently beating a series of best-evers.
“So I think this is the best-ever away team, best-ever prepared team, best-ever away medals. But also little things like best-ever team result by basketball.”
Individual excellence by members of the Scottish team was also picked out by Whittingham.
“Look at Duncan Scott (winner of six medals in the swimming pool) – best-ever result by a single athlete,” he said in a BBC Scotland interview.“And not forgetting (bowler) Alex Marshall – most decorated athlete.
“So we can take a lot away from this and I’m delighted 2018 is as we’ve planned.”
In measuring Team Scotland’s performance against that of their previous visit to Australia – the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne – Whittingham was unconcerned that, despite overhauling that total of 29 medals, they fell two short of the gold standard – nine in 2018 compared with 11.
“Yeah, well, we weren’t far away,” he said. “But obviously we were down. We won 19 gold medals in Glasgow 2014. That’s why countries bid for home soil games.
“When you have home soil games, you do invariably very well and we did in Glasgow. Look at Australia here. They’ve won more golds than anywhere else. Yes, we’ll look at that, we’re never content.”
That ambition to achieve even greater success means that Whittinghma’s focus now switches from Australia to England, where the next Commonwealth Games will be staged in 2022, and his search for further improvement.
“We’ll go back and challenge the sports and we’ll challenge ourselves and we’ll come out wanting to do even better in Birmingham,” he added.
“For the moment, we just need to accept the fact that Scotland has consistently delivered medals on the world stage.”