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Commonwealth Games: The Opening Ceremony from Celtic Park

Wednesday, 23 July 2014
ALL THE NEWS, ACTION AND REACTION LIVE FROM GLASGOW 2014 AS IT HAPPENS!

By Nick Butler and Paul Osborne at Celtic Park
Click refresh for latest updates. All times stated are British

Good night from Celtic Park

But for now, it is Good Night!

00:30
So, after a thoroughly spectacular opening, tomorrow it is the turn of the athletes as the Glasgow 2014 sports programme begins in earnest.

Join us tomorrow morning to follow all the action every step of the way.

BREAKING NEWS!
 UNICEF announce £2.5 million raised at Opening Ceremony.

00:25 We are going to close up the live blog very soon here in Celtic Park - there are not many other journalists left now.- but I hope you have enjoyed it as much as we all have.

Gary Anderson's' report on the Opening Ceremony can now be read here.

Our latest insidethegames picture gallery also contains many of the best images from tonight.

And if that is not enough to whet your appetite, here are a couple more of the best snaps.

Scotland parade at the Opening Ceremony ©Getty ImagesThe Commonwealth Flag carried by the six regional representatives ©Getty Images





Praise for public transport


Twitter logoCredit to @ScotRail for how well organised the @Glasgow2014 transport has been tonight
- Even Glasgow's public transport system seems to have raised to the challenge of the Commonwealth Games, as David Duncan sings their praises.

Celtic representation in Celtic Park

Twitter logo
The Hoops took centre stage at the #2014ceremony this evening courtesy of Tonga's @lomalitomoala (KK) #CelticPark
- It may have been a little different for a normal evening at Celtic Park, but green and white hoops were still a feature...for one team at least

Tongan boxer Lomalito Moala paraded wearing a Celtic shirt ©Twitter







This is after Celtic fans had to travel to Murrayfield, the home of Scottish rugby in Edinburgh, for their Champions League qualifying match against KR Reykjavik. They won 4-0, so it was more than worth the extra commute.

00:08 We are going to keep providing updates for the next few minutes here in Celtic Park, as the reaction continues to come in.

Barely half an hour after the Ceremony's conclusion, the Stadium is already unrecognisable from before, after a sterling effort by all the staff and volunteers

The Athletes' Oath had a Scottish flavour


The reading of the Athletes' Oath at the Opening Ceremony ©AFP/Getty Images
00:00 UNICEF have just announced they have made £2.5 million ($4.26 million/€3.16 million) from tonight's event. 

We will bring you more news on that stunning UNICEF figure as and when we get it.

23:57 Most people have now left Celtic Park, but the large number of volunteers remaining have broken into a spontaneous burst of Flower of Scotland. Stirring stuff.

Twitter logo
What a great Opening Ceremony! Such an amazing Atmosphere. Very proud to be Scottish. @Glasgow2014 #CommonwealthGames #Glasgow2014
Allan Wells, the Olympic 1980 100 metres gold medallist, who was the first athlete to carry the Queen's Baton at Buckingham Palace last October.

Glasgow 2014 is declared open by The Queen!!

23:47
That spot of bother with opening the Baton was the Glasgow 2014 equivalent of the fifth Ring failing to light at Sochi 2014. But, like on that occasion, it did not detract from a thoroughly magnificent Opening Ceremony.  

And, as reporter Paul Osborne and Olympic and Commonwealth Games historian Philip Barker both seem to recall, there were also some problems opening the Baton to put the message in, when the Relay began at Buckingham Palace last October...

If ever there was a time to market a device for opening tricky contraptions.

And also, some pictures have shown The Queen did, after all, crack a smile at all that palaver.

23:40
And the Ceremony is over. The sporting action will now begin.

The Queen smiles and Sir Chris Hoy looks, well, bemused as Prince Imran struggles to open the Baton ©Twitter23:34 
"It now gives me the greatest pleasure to declare the XX Commonwealth Games, Open,"concludes the Queen, at the end of her speech. 

The speech in full: "At Buckingham palace last October I placed this message in a specially crafted Baton and passed it on to a number of Batonbearers. Over the past 288 days the Baton has visited all the nations and territories of the Commonwealth, crossing every continent in a journey of more than 10,000 miles.

"The Baton represents a calling together of people from every part of the Commonwealth and serves as a reminder of our shared ideals and ambitions as a diverse, resourceful and cohesive family.

"And now, that Baton has arrived her in Glasgow, a city renowned for its dynamic cultural and sporting achievements, for the warmth of its people, for the Opening Ceremony of the Family Games"

"To you, the Commonwealth athletes, I send my good wishes for success in your endeavours.. Your accomplishments over the coming days will encourage us all to strengthen the bonds that unite us. You remind us that young people, those under of 25 years of age, make up half of our Commonwealth citizens; and it is to you that we entrust our values and our future.

"I offer my sincere thanks to the many organisations and volunteers who have worked diligently to bring these Games to fruition, and indeed to the spectators here in the Stadium and to the millions watching it on television. Together, you all play a part in strengthening our friendships in this modern and vibrant association of nations."

Twitter logo
Queen clearly heavy handed when putting that baton top on 288 days ago. @chrishoy to the rescue! #openingceremony @Glasgow2014


Twitter logo
Chris Hoy.  Exactly the man you need to get the lid off your jar of jam. @Glasgow2014

-
The struggle to open the Baton has cemented the legend of Sir Chris Hoy

23:31
Prince Imran is struggling to open the Baton. It reminds me of struggling valiantly to open a tightly sealed marmalade jar. Sir Chris Hoy is on hand to help out. What must The Queen be thinking...? She does not smile. 

But finally the job is done. Prince Imran hands it over with a beaming smile. There are not many major leaders who would have been so unembarrassed by that situation...

23:28
Grass-roots volunteers from the world of sport emerge and set off to deliver the Baton, as Julie Fowlis sings Smeorach

23:26
Prince Imran of Malaysia, the Commonwealth Games Federation President who is also an International Olympic Committee member, gives the final speech. 

He announces the Queen's baton's arrival back into stadium. It is carried by a Jamaican schoolgirl called Jenica, passed to a group of volunteers who work in Scottish sport and them on to Sir Chris Hoy. Sir Chris was passed the Baton by his 97-year-old his great uncle Andy Coogan - one of the six-time Olympic gold medal winner's greatest sporting inspirations

Shooter Susan Nattrass leading out the Canadian delegation earlier on

Susan Nattrass led out the Canadian team ©Getty Images

23:22
Gordon Matheson, leader of the Glasgow City Council, is up next. 

"Whilst you've been training or saving and making travel plans. Everything is in place so you can perform at your best and have the time of your lift in this beautiful and friendly city. And so we are gathered here in this stadium and in front of television screens across the city and throughout the world."

"Our time has come. Let Glasgow flourish. And as for the Games. Bring. It. On"

23:18
First up is Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond. He introduces an impeccably observed moments silence for victims of the Malaysia Airlines crash. "On behalf of the people of this beautiful city, welcome to Glasgow," he concludes, to a deafening crescendo.

Salmond is embarking on a "self-denying ordinance" to avoid the question of Scottish Independence for the duration of the Games to keep sport at the forefront. He is doing well so far at avoiding temptation to break from that trend.

23:15 Next it is the athletes' oath, then we have the concluding speeches.

Twitter logo
Woops. @IanThorpe introduced during @Glasgow2014 opening ceremony as a 4-times Commonwealth Games gold medallist. He's won 10! #legend
- Alexandra Factor ‏spots a rare error.

23:11: Comedian Billy Connelly makes an appearance on the big screen as he gives tribute to the late Nelson Mandela; a man who has a huge connection to the City of Glasgow.

"So there was a man – Nelsen Mandela," he starts.

"And do you know this is the first time the Commonwealth family has been together since he died - so I've got to tell you a story about him - and Glasgow.

"Back in 1981 when he was still in prison, Glasgow decided to award Nelson the Freedom of the City Now this was the first city in the world to stand up and make such a public show of support for him and it was a big deal"

Philip Barker
"The virtual orchestra now playing is very similar to the virtual choir seen at the Nagano 1998 Winter Olympic Opening Ceremony. This song is Road to the Isles, a famous traditional Scottish song in the Songs of the Hebrides collection."
-
insidethegames
Olympic and Commonwealth Games historian trawls his unrivalled bank of Opening Ceremony memories.

23:06 There were six representatives from each of the six regions bringing out the flag. Squash player Nicol David, swimmer Ian Thrope, judoka Graham Randall, sprinter Shelley Ann Fraser-Pryce, distance runner Kip Kenna and wheelchair racer Chantal Peticlerc.

Twitter logo
Well done to all the Scottish Terrier Owners with their dogs...Scottish Terriers you were amazing with all the noise!  @Glasgow2014
- The Scottie dogs continue to trend on Twitter

But there continue to be fears over their welfare, something Glasgow 2014 are doing to their best to allay. Glasgow 2014 have tweeted again. "‏Don't worry, they were taken round by their owners so will be heading home after the ceremony! Thanks, Glasgow 2014," they insist.

"Weren't they all well behaved, I don't think any of them left any sort of deposit in the Stadium," reflects Philip Barker.

23:01 
After the teams had completed their march, Robbie Burns verse flashed on screen. "Wi' joy unfeigned brothers and sisters meet"

Twitter logo
What an incredible reception! Never been so proud to be welsh!! @TeamWales thank you @Glasgow2014
- Welsh team captain, Paralympian Aled Davies

22:58
Two Scottish legends in actor James McAvoy and cyclist Sir Chris Hoy appear to give a final plea for a UNICEF donation. Glasgow 2014 are aiming to set a new precedent for all future ceremonies to reflect.

Remember, text 'FIRST' to 70333 to donate £5 now.

Weightlifter Mercy Obiero leads in the Kenyan team

Kenya will look to be one of the strongest African nation's in Glasgow ©AFP/Getty Images

22:51
Wow! It was quite an effort. But every single Flagbearer has now appeared. Cue the return of Rod Stewart... He is singing Can't Stop Me Now.

Paul Osborne
"There have been many opinions on the attire chosen for the Scots at these Games. I'm still unsure myself. I'm all for a kilt, and the colour blue. But together... Maybe not... Maybe they'll experience what we journalists at insidethegames do everytime we don the infamous green and pink tie..."
- Reporter Paul Osborne knows what it is like to wear questionable uniform.

22:47
And then it is Scoootlnnndddd!!! 

Finally. The moment most of these fans have been dying to see. It's veteran judoka Euan Burton with the host nation team.

"Don't you think the Scottish uniform looks like a can of Iron Bru?" insidethegames Olympic and Commonwealth Games historian Philip Barker asks.

22:46 
The anticipation in Celtic Park builds as our penultimate team Wales make their way into the Stadium led by rhythmic gymnast Frankie Jones.

22:44 
Malta are next with Kevin Moore carrying the flag while cyclist Martyn Irvine takes the honour for Northern Ireland. Irvine became the first Irishman to win a World Track Championship gold in 117 years in 2013.

22:43 
Gibraltar come in next with Chris Walker at the Helm, followed by Chris Simpson and Guernsey. The Isle of Man team follow Flagbearer Tim Kneale into the Stadium before Stephen Le Coulliard leads in the Jersey contingent.

22:41 
Now for perhaps the most popular continent inside Celtic Park as teams from Europe get set to walk-the-walk. First in are athletes from Cyprus led by skeet shooter Georgios Achilleos.

I hear a subtle (non-biased) cheer erupt from next to me as England enter the Stadium led by British and world champion squash player Nick Matthew. No boos though, for the Auld Enemy in Celtic Park. That is good to see despite the Scottish Independence referendum in two months time.

Sport is well and truly trumping politics tonight. 

Twitter logo
Stunning #openingceremony for the Commonwealth Games - and Rod Stewart! Perfect start to @Glasgow2014.
- British Prime Minister David Cameron is enjoying himself

22:36 
Mike Brownlee leads the Falkland Islands before Geron Williams and team Guyana. Last but not least for the Americas is Simon Henry who may have been hoping for a lay down this evening after spending 10 days travelling to Scotland with his St Helena team mate.

22:35 
First up is Belize who are led by Kate Sealy, followed by Micah Franklin and the Bermuda team. The crowd are on their feet again as Canada take to the spotlight, led by shooter Susan Nattrass.

It seems a while ago now that India entered the Stadium

It seems a while ago now that Indian shooter Vijay Kumar began the Parade ©AFP/Getty Images

22:33 
The Americas are the least represented continent at these Games with just six teams set to make to compete.

22:32 
The squad from Trinidad and Tobago joining them inside Celtic Park as Keshorn Walcott bears the flag duty, while Angelo Garland lead the final team from the Caribbean Turks and Caicos Islands.

22:31 
Grenada is up next with 400m Olympic champion Kirani James up top with the flag. James, and Williams for that matter, begin a long list of Athletics competitors holding the flags for their countries as Jamaica's Warren Weir takes the honour for his nation. Weir finished third behind Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake in a Jamaican 1-2-3 over 200m at London 2012.

He's followed by Julius Morris for Montserrat and Antoine Adams for Saint Kitts and Nevis. Next we're joined by St Lucia as they march through the Stadium at the heels of Levern Spencer. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines come next wtith Kineke Alexander taking hold of the flag.

Philip Barker
"The last time the Commonwealth Games was held in Scotland, in Edinburgh in 1986, Bermuda participated in the Opening Ceremony but then did not end up competing, as they made a late decision to join the boycott, of which 32 of the 59 eligible countries participated in."
- insidethegames Olympic and Commonwealth Games historian Philip Barker hits back at Duncan Mackay's effort with a stat of his own. 1-1 in terms of quirky Caribbean knowledge for these two great doyens of Olympic journalism.

Twitter logo
Don't worry, everything is being done to ensure the dogs are happy! They are also being led around by their owners :)
- Glasgow 2014 try to assure worried fans on Twitter about the health of the dogs.

22:25
Next up is everybody's favourite tropical Island, Barbados led by Shane Brathwaite. The team from the British Virgin Islands come in behind Flagbearer Chantel Malone followed closesly by Michele Smith and her team from the Cayman Islands. Yet another team Paul Osborne has to ask what the country abbreviation stands for as Dominica make their way to the stage led by Brendan V A Williams.

Duncan Mackay new
"Little known fact about Anguilla, who have just marched in. The biggest Anguillan population beyond its sandy shores is in Slough, where an estimated 2,000 people with links to the island live. Many of their grandparents arrived in the Berkshire town in the late 1950's and others followed, making their mark on the area's culture, particularly in sport. Indeed, former Hampshire fast bowler Cardigan Connor, who started his career at Slough CC, is the team's Chef de Mission for the third consecutive Commonwealth Games.
- insidethegames editor Duncan Mackay, who started his career at the Slough Observer, offers this gem of a fact.

22:20 
A nice introduction for the Caribbean as Shaggy's Mr Boombastic welcomes Rechelle Meade and her Anguilla team mates. Just 10 seconds of Shaggy seemed enough for the people of Glasgow as the music shifts for sprinter Daniel Bailey and Antigua. The Bahamas come next with Arianna Vaderpool-Wallace given the honours with the flag

Malaysian athletes entered the Stadium wearing armbands

The Malaysian team wore armbands in honour of the Air Malaysia plane crash victims ©Getty Images

22:16
Great to see national themes being so embraced tonight. After some soulful African drum music, the beat of Jamican-American singer Shaggy is played. It's Mr Boombastic, reporter Paul Osborne tells me. 

22:15
Between each continent, we have another UNICEF message. As well as the noble cause, it provides an opportunity for us to catch up with our relentless quest to name all 71 Flagbearers. 

22:12 
Swaziland are next with Phumlile Ndzinisa taking the flag. Interestingly she is the first athlete to have the word (female) written next to her name...

22:11
 Our first squash player of the evening James Fayla leads in the team from Sierra Leone.: The octane levels rise again as South Africa make their way into the Stadium. They are led by Rugby Sevens star Cecil Sebastian Afrika.

Bringing up the rear for the African teams we have Tanzania led by Seleman Salum Kidunda,, Uganda with Charles Ssekyaaya at the helm and finally Zambia with judoka Punza Mathews.


Twitter logo
What are you doing with that big screen after the #openingceremony @Glasgow2014?! I'm needing a new tele. Let me know, I can get a van...
- Scott Brown is being entrepreneurial as he watches the Ceremony.

22:08 
Another huge cheer goes up as Nigeria make their way onto the yellow, red, green and blue brick road. Maryam Usman leads this contingent.

Rwanda comes next with the first powerlifter of the night, Theogene Hakizimana. Seychelles follow with weightlifter Clementina Agricole bearing their flag.

A Scottish Terrier is leading each country as they begin their parade ©Getty Images

22:08 
Mozambique come next with Flagbearer Kurt Couto, while Namibia's Johannes Helalia follows closely behind.

22:07 
Cyclist Leonard Mataya Tsoyo comes next at the head of the Malawi team, followed by Kate Foo Kune with the team from Mauritius. Always a good pub quiz question: "Which continent is Mauritius in?" A pretty easy one if you are familiar with covering NOC business with insidethegames, however.

22:04 
It's time for Africa now and first up we have Bostwana led by 800m runner Nijel Amos. He was second behind David Rudisha in the 800m final at London 2012, Organising Committee's chairman, and former 800m runner, Sebastian Coe's favourite moment of the Games. 

Cameroon are next through the door with yet another weightlifter holding the flag. This time it's Vanetius Njuh. Always ones to put on a good show, the Ghanian team coming out all dancing. All bar Flagbearer Janet Amonsah who seems to have her mind on waving that big ol' flag of hers

Big cheer for Kenya next with Mecy Obiero at the helm. They're followed by one of reporter Paul Osborne's favourite team Lesotha with boxer Mokhotho Moroke holding the flag

Cycling legend Anna Meares leads Australia into the Stadium ©Getty Images

21:59 
And another good reaction... This time it's Jenly Tegu Wini for the Solomon Islands. A boxer is given the honour next as Uaine Fa Flagbears - we are creating new verb's tonight - for Tonga. 

So good they named him twice...Lapua Lapua comes in ahead of the Tuvalu contingent. Last but not least for the Oceania region is Vanuatu with our first table tennis player at the head, Yoshua Shing.

Twitter logo
@Glasgow2014 you might need some extra chairs for all those Aussies
Britain's Chef de Mission at London 2012 Andy Hunt. They're playing Kylie Minogue, widely tipped to play the Closing Ceremony on August 3.

21:56 
And they're followed by Niue led by lawn bowls player Hina Reriti. The smallest team here at the Games come next as John Christian leads out the Norfolk Islands. He is distantly related to Fletcher Christian, master's mate on board HMS Bounty in 1789, Philip Barker tells me. "Most people are in those parts, I think," he adds.

Great reaction for Papua New Guinea as Steven Kai comes in bearing the flag, hardly a tough task for the weightlifter. Another weightlifter carrying the flag for Samoa as Ele Opeloge takes the honour

21:52 
The team from Kiribati comes in behind Flagbearer David Katoatau and is swfitly joined by Nauru led by weightlifter Itte Detenamo. Nauru have been billed as the "pound for pound" strongest nation in the Commonwealth. They are certainly strong - weightlifting is their foremost sport, and has brought all 28 of the Pacific island nation's medals.

Shot Putter Valerie Adams is also a strong athlete. She leads New Zealand out.

Twitter logo
Crowd reaction is that the Scottie dogs have stolen the show! @Glasgow2014
Francesca Osowska ‏agrees with insidethegames editor Duncan Mackay about the Scottish Terriers 

21:51 
Huge cheer for Fiji as Litia Tikoisuua bears the flag. Remember Fiji only just made it to these Games after their late re-introduction into the Commonwealth.

21:50 
Next up is Oceania with cyclist Anna Meares the first to enter the Stadium for 2006 Commonwealth Games hosts Australia. The Delhi 2010 medal table toppers have a massive contingent, as you would expect. Patricia Taea leads in a slightly smaller delegation from the Cook Islands.

21:49
Now it is the turn of Oceania. The music included Mundian To Bach Ke by Panjabi MC for Asia, it is the bang crash wallop of Back in Black by AC/DC to greet Oceania.

The Queen enters Celtic Park ©Getty Images

21:46 
And finally Sudesh Peiris leads out the last Asian squad - Sri Lanka.

21:45 
Hassan Saadi leads out the Maldives. He's followed by Azhar Hussain leading the Pakistan contingent. Gymnast Lim Heem Wei is then given the honour for Singapore.

21:43 
Then it is Bangladesh, led by shooter Igbal Islam, followed by cyclist Muhammad Imaadi Aba Aziz leading the Brunei Darussalam contingent. Or Brunei Jerusalem, as we heard in the pre-show...

Cyclist Fatehah Mustapa leads the Malaysian team, who are all wearing black armbands in recognition of the victims of the Malaysia Airlines plane crash last week.

21:41
Another message from Ewan McGregor concerning UNICEF donations. And then cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar appears with another plea. 

Artists performing during the Opening Ceremony ©AFP/Getty Images

21:37
And it is 2010 Commonwealth Games hosts India up first! Each team is being led out by a Scottish terrier dog. "I just love that," quips insidethegames editor Duncan Mackay.

Shooter Vijay Kumar is carrying the Indian flag.

21:36 500 athlete marshal's enter the arena, wearing rather audacious attire and carrying a chair apiece ready for the first 500 athletes to walk through the gates.

21:34 Scottish adventurer Mark Beaumont emerges from the plane on the River Cylde carrying the Baton, and the all important message within. 

Calvin Harris's Feel So Close is playing. The dancers had to rehearse an alternative song to this one at the weekend, before permission for it to be played was belatedly granted. 

Twitter logoOpening ceremonies have upped their game since London 2012. You can't beat a Tunnock's tea cake! So excited for @Glasgow2014
- English javelin thrower Goldie Sayers is fairly easily impressed.

21:31 The Loch Lomond Sea Plane emerges from a cloud-filed sky carrying the Queen's Baton. After 286 days and a 190,000-kilometre journey spanning 70 nations and territories since it was set on its way by The Queen last October, the Baton is almost home.

21:29 Duo Sleep at Last are performing against a Scottish backdrop to what surely must be the most laid back version of The Proclaimers' 500 Miles ever heard.

An impeccably observed National Anthem is heard.

Dancers perform in the opening segment of the Ceremony ©Getty Images

21:24 A Royal Parade as the Queen makes her way, in her car, around the stadium. There are no boos I can hear, just unanimous cheering. She's still pretty popular north of the border these days.

That said, she probably hasn't set foot in Celtic Park much before. After Croke Park earlier this year, she is ticking off the Republican-associated strongholds.

21:22 Good effort by Rod there, belting out the final bars of Rhythm of My Heart. 

Prince Imran, Lord Smith of Kelvin and Michael Cavanagh make their way onto to the stage and are quickly joined by everybody's favourite, Susan Boyle, who sings Mull of Kintyre to a montage of Her Majesty the Queen

Twitter logoAnyone else watching the Glasgow 2014 ceremony? This what happens when they're left to their own devices...
- Robert Oliver is enjoying the Scottishness so far

British Labour Party leader Ed Miliband almost smiling as he takes his seat

British Labour Party leader Ed Miliband almost smiling as he takes his seat ©Getty Images


21:17 Here is Rod Stewart!!

Twitter logoI want a Tannocks Tea Cake outfit! @Glasgow2014 brilliant opening ceremony so far....
- Reaction on Twitter from Mattie Richardson

21:13 Amy MacDonald is now singing her own version of Rhythm of My Heart. She was on with Philip Barker on the One Show earlier, but she's entertaining 40,000 people in Celtic Park now. The raucous shouting of the opening segment has become more genteel clapping now. 

21:10 Do you like this so far? I ask insidethegames editor Duncan Mackay. "It's brilliant," he shouts back. 

I haven't seen enthusiasm like that from him since Slough Town were promoted to the Southern League Premier Division.

21:07 And wait, is that an inflatable Loch Ness monster? Yes it is, we've already seen every Scottish stereotype I know, and we've only had seven minutes. 

A role of thunder to represent the Scottish weather we don't have tonight as well.

An 115-strong ensemble cast are joining John Barrowman as they travel through some of Scotland's most famous of icons atop a vehicle

21:05 The camera shifts to Karen Dunbar singing in the crowd before actor John Barrowman appears from inside a giant kilt to join the action.

21:03 There is a lot of tartan on stage since I last looked, and Iron Bru. "The first 30 seconds have already banished the memory of Edinburgh 1986," insidethegames Olympic and Commonwealth Games historian turned television star Philip Barker tells me. These Ceremonies are what he lives for...

21:00 We are underway! With a message from Euan McGregor on behalf of UNICEF. "Welcome to Glasgow, Welcome to Scotland, and Welcome to the Commonwealth Games," he concludes.

The Queen arriving at Glasgow Central Station on her way to Celtic Park

The Queen arriving at Glasgow Central Station on her way to Celtic Park ©Twitter

20:59 "Time to smile everyone. We're going live to the world in just 60 seconds," says the announcer.

20:57 Three minutes to go. The internet has joined the excitement, by massively slowing down in speed.

Not everyone is caught up in the atmosphere of the Glasgow 2014 Opening Ceremony

Quote marks"Going to be controversial - but does the public care about a minority population of para athletics? Or is it just a PC thing? Amazing athletes mind but a minority group, the coverage is little over the top and might I say rather condecending in my view"
- Auckland 1990 800m bronze medallist Matt Yates on Facebook

20:50 The Opening Ceremony is beginning in 10 minutes!

20:46 Speaking of protesters, there was a large group of Tamil demonstrators as well as Irish-Palestinian ones on the streets around Celtic Park. There was a lot of angry reaction to the news, exclusively revealed by insidethegames in May, that Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa was not planning to attend these Commonwealth Games, with protests like these having possibly contributed...

An Irish and Palestinian demonstrating conglomeration ©ITGTamil demonstrators outside Celtic Park ©ITG

20:40 The crowd are now practising cheering the names of the countries set to parade later. "That's not good enough," says the announcer. "We can be here all night if we have to: there's 71 different names we can practise."

He is asking for volunteers in the crowd to help him. "Brunei Jerusalem" says one, with the rest of stadium immediately chorusing it out. All the Palestinian protesters outside will not enjoy that one...

I think he meant Brunei Darussalam.

Glasgow 2014 Opening Ceremony cast getting ready ©Glasgow 2014

20:38 To donate money to UNICEF today, it couldn't be easier. Simply text 'FIRST' to 70333 to donate £5 now. Check out our first live blog yesterday to see more information about the work of UNICEF. Scroll down to between 10:30 and 11:30 on the blog.

20:36 "When people wake up tomorrow, sport will have changed," concludes Lord Puttnam. "No Opening Ceremony of the future will be the same." 

20:33 UNICEF chief executive Jon Sparkes has provided a further glimpse on the "special segment" the organisation will have in the Ceremony. It will come during the parade of athletes, where each nation will appear not in alphabetical order, but in order of region and territory.

20:29 A lot of singing and dancing, and a little bit of cycling, during the pre-show so far. But now a serious message courtesy of UNICEF, who are set to play a key role in tonight's proceedings.

Legendary film producer Lord David Puttnam is speaking about the project. The theme tune of Chariots of Fire, one of the films he produced, is played as he appears. 

Paul Osborne"Amazing atmosphere here inside Celtic Park. Stage looks great, I've got my snacks and drinks; and couldn't be more excited for the show to really get underway! Just wish I'd brought my green and pink kilt to really get into the Scottish mood."
- Reporter Paul Osborne is enjoying his first Opening Ceremony


Twitter logoI'm very nervous and very proud to be performing at the Commonwealth Games #2014Ceremony tonight in Glasgow.
- It must take a lot to make someone of Rod Stewart's stature nervous. He is the star act performing tonight.

20:22 insidethegames Olympic and Commonwealth Games historian Philip Barker was on the One Show on the BBC earlier on this evening, plugging the Ceremony. He's the good looking one on the right, in case you didn't know...

insidethegames historian Philip Barker on the BBC One Show earlier ©ITG

Twitter logoGood luck to everyone involved with @Glasgow2014 - a fantastic advert for a wonderful city, and another glorious summer of sport
- London Mayor Boris Johnson tweets a message of support for Glasgow 2014

20:14 The pre-show has begun. The time is a coincidence...maybe.

"This is the weather we always have in Glasgow," quips the announcer. "Who knew Iron Bru was a skin colour?"

20:06 As we said in the intro earlier, this is our second blog of the day. We had one previewing the Ceremony earlier on, which can still be read here.

Since we provided a thoroughly overview of many of the Flagbearers this afternoon, we have been handed an official list of all of the other. Problem is, it is embargoed until the start of the Ceremony in 54 minutes time. So we will be keeping that quiet, as we will all the other secrets in the media guide we were handed earlier...


The insidethegames team ready to rock and roll inside Celtic Park ©ITG

19:58 "Have you got enough branding there?" Glasgow 2014 executive advisor Jackie Brock-Doyle asks when surveying the insidethegames row. That is never a problem...

19:53 Excitement is building as the 40,000 people take their seats. At this stage before the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, the loudspeakers were belting out numbers by Daftpunk and Queen. Here it is music of the more Scottish variety, as bagpipes and drums reverberate around the Arena.

The view from the media gantry as excitement builds for the Opening Ceremony ©ITG

19:41 A four strong insidethegames team of bloggers, reporters and roving contributors are here en masse to keep you entertained throughout the evening, whether you are watching on a sofa in London, a beach in Kingston or a bar in Sydney. Or anywhere else for that matter.

It wasn't the easiest journey from the Glasgow 2014 hub that is the Main Press Centre to Celtic Park. A bus journey followed by a lengthy trot around the stadium followed by the customary security procedures - which included having to take off our glasses, for the first time certainly in my memory.

But all of this was more than worth it just to take in the atmosphere soaking this grand old arena - usually the home of Glasgow Celtic Football Club - on a beautiful sunny everything which epitomises everything you don't usually associate with Scottish weather.  Hundreds of spectators walked in alongside us, most of whom were Scottish but we also glimpsed a splattering of Irish and English flags, as well as the occasional Malaysian and Bangladeshi one.

19:30 Hello and welcome to the second insidethegames live blog of the day, and this time it's for the big one. It's only the Opening Ceremony of the Commonwealth Games, getting underway here in Celtic Park in just an hour and a half from now.
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