Scotland is a country that has it's fair share of historic sporting moments and personalities. Our nation is known around the world as the home of golf. Elite sporting legends such as Alex Ferguson, Chris Hoy, Andy Murray and Colin McRae hail from our fair shores. We had the world's first official international football match (a rather dull 0-0 draw between Scotland and England in Partick in 1872), and we hosted the immensely popular 2014 Commonwealth Games, hailed by the Games Federation Chief Executive as "the standout games in the history of the tournament".
Glasgow is home to one of the most famous and fierce club rivalries in world football (no, not Bellshill Athletic Vs Pollock FC), and there was the 2002 Champions League Final between Real Madrid and Bayern Leverkusen at Hampden, featuring that winning Zidane volley, regarded as one of the finest goals in the history of the European Cup. Baseball legend Bobby Thomson, known as the Staten Island Scot and home run skelper of the famous "Shot Heard Round the World" was born on the banks of the Clyde, and although it's not played here, Scotland were Elephant Polo World Champions in 2001, 2004 and 2005.
Between the 2nd and 12th of August this year, Scotland was home to another piece of sporting history. Along with Berlin, Glasgow played host city to the inaugural European Championships, a new multi-sport event combining the existing European Championships for Athletics, Aquatics, Cycling, Gymnastics, Rowing and Triathlon, and throwing in a new Golf Team Championships for good measure.
Spread out over multiple venues, events of this magnitude of course attract large crowds, and as such require a substantial security and police presence. That's where we come in. This writer spent a few days of the games visiting some of the venues around the Dear Green Place, speaking with the men and women of Police Scotland to get the lowdown on keeping people safe while we're doing our sporty thing.
Let the games begin!
Date: Tuesday, 7th August
Venue: Cathkin Braes Mountain Bike Trails, Castlemilk
Event: Women's Mountain Biking Finals
"We're here today keeping everyone safe, making sure everyone's having an enjoyable time. We keep an eye on the spectators, the athletes, and are just overseeing proceedings, patrolling round the event. The G4S staff do a really good job here, so we're just making sure everyone's behaving themselves and maintaining order."
Police Constables Craig White and David Brannigan
Date: Tuesday, 7th August
Venue: Glasgow Green
Event: GO LIVE! at the Green
"Today, we're here at GO LIVE! at the Green, doing some community engagement. We're walking about, mingling and making sure everything's going as well as it can be. It's a similar event to the Commonwealth Games in 2014, it's a family day, though not quite as busy and today at least, we have better weather."
Police Constables Sarah Davidson and Stephen Ryan
Date: Thursday, 9th August
Venue: The Hydro
Event: Mens' Gymnastics Finals
"Today, we're working at the Hydro at the finals of the Mens' Gymnastics. We're here for public reassurance, keeping people safe, making sure everyone's enjoying the atmosphere. It's been a great time down here so far, no issues at all and everyone's having a lovely time. It's mostly families that are here, and it's been a great event. We also worked at the Commonwealth Games a few years ago. This is a much smaller scale, but very similar in terms of atmosphere."
Police Constables Iain Crawford and Maclean Black
Commenting on the success of the Games and the policing operation as a whole, Assistant Chief Constable Nelson Telfer said, "The Championships welcomed over 8000 athletes and officials and attracted a global TV audience who witnessed sporting events and festivals taking place at venues across 6 Police Scotland Local Divisions and 7 Local Authority areas.
"It was clear from the outset that this was an event which required a Force-wide response and again demonstrated the abilities and capabilities of the national Force, drawing conventional and specialist officers and staff from all over Scotland. It is important not to underestimate the scale of this event and the policing operation. Glasgow 2018 saw over 4000 individual police deployments across 17 venues with a significant specialist policing response, providing a Championships-wide remit.
"Public feedback has been very positive and we worked closely with many other stakeholders to ensure that all those who participated in and attended the events, did so safely and securely. The Championships passed without significant incident and any incidents that did occur were all dealt with professionally and to the standard I expect."