Scotland’s summer of sport can serve up some seminal moments - Graham Bean

When David Marshall dived left to save Aleksandar Mitrovic’s penalty in that impossibly dramatic Euro 2020 play-off in Belgrade last November, the pain of 22 years dissolved in an instant.

The return of the men’s national football team to a major tournament for the first time since 1998 is something to cherish and, combined with the easing of lockdown, has the potential to make next month’s Euros a true celebration in what will be a memorable summer of sport.

It is just one highlight in a season ripe with opportunities for Scottish talent and it is a privilege to be involved in the coverage of what are likely to be seminal moments in our nation’s sporting history.

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It begins with Josh Taylor’s bid to become Scotland’s first undisputed boxing world champion since Ken Buchanan. The unification bout with Jose Ramirez in Las Vegas offers the Prestonpans fighter the chance to join boxing royalty.

David Marshall (in orange) is mobbed by his Scotland team-mates after his penalty save in the shoot-out against Serbia ensured Scotland's qualification for Euro 2020, which will be played this summer. Picture: Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images

Also making waves on the global stage are our Olympians. In Laura Muir and Jemma Reekie, we have two truly world-class middle distance runners who, along with swimmers Duncan Scott and Kathleen Dawson and cyclist Katie Archibald, will have their eyes on medals in Tokyo.

Fitness permitting, Andy Murray, arguably our greatest ever sportsman, will return to Wimbledon in June – the scene of two of his greatest triumphs. It could be his swan-song, it could be the start of a comeback, but it certainly won’t be dull. It never is with Murray.

Then we are into golf, with mouth-watering tournaments being hosted in the sport’s cradle, including the British Women’s Open at Carnoustie, and the men’s and women’s Scottish Opens in East Lothian.

Look out too for Bob MacIntyre challenging at the Open in Sandwich. The Oban golfer combines ability with star potential and could yet feature in the Ryder Cup.

Last week’s news that eight Scots will be involved in the British & Irish Lions’ tour of South Africa is vindication of the progress made this year by our rugby team under Gregor Townsend and the Test series against the world champion Springboks is likely to be the greatest challenge of these players’ careers.

The Lions can be rampant, but so too can our other sporting heroes over the course of a summer suffused with optimism.

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