Philip BarkerSo they won't now be knocking down tower blocks in the "Red Road" for the Opening Ceremony for Glasgow 2014, but whatever happens at Celtic Park tonight will surely set the tone for the entire Games.

The show is in the hands of the events company Jack Morton World Wide. They were responsible for launching Athens 2004 and also produced Manchester and Melbourne's Opening Ceremonies.

It's all a far cry from the "suitable programme of display items" which used to be laid down in the Commonwealth Games constitution.

It will certainly be light years away from Scotland's  last in  Edinburgh 28 years ago.  The 13th Commonwealth Games were ill fated, beset with crippling financial difficulties and a major political boycott which saw half the member countries stay away.

It was less than two years after David Wolper's spectacular Olympic tour de force in Los Angeles and although produced by the BBC, the Ceremony suffered by comparison, though in fairness it had a fraction of the budget.

The Opening Ceremony of the Edinburgh 1986 Commonwealth Games paled into comparison with the Los Angeles 1984 Olympics, but it did have a fraction of the budget ©Getty ImagesThe Opening Ceremony of the Edinburgh 1986 Commonwealth Games paled into comparison with the Los Angeles 1984 Olympics, but it did have a fraction of the budget ©Getty Images

The parade of nations was even hit by a late snag. At the dress rehearsal, television cameras found their shots obscured by sun light so the whole march-in was hastily switched to the other end of the stadium. It was somehow typical of these Games that the problem had been discovered so late. In fact precautions to combat sunlight proved unnecessary on a grey evening.

When the teams did arrive, the choice of Canadian flagbearer was particularly unfortunate in the light of later events. Carrying the Maple Leaf flag was none other than Ben Johnson.

The Ceremony had begun with a welcome from a lone piper on the ramparts of Edinburgh Castle, before hundreds of schoolchildren raced down the Royal Mile into the Meadowbank Stadium. Prince Philip, then President of the Commonwealth Games Federation, was invited to inspect the soldiers of the Black Watch in a Ceremony which retained a military feel.

A "Commonwealth Pageant" saw the arrival of floats representing in turn Oceania, complete with speedboat, five very cold water skiers and mechanical dolphins, Africa, decorated with six giant masks and a volcano to depict the origin of the Great Rift Valley.  A giant Polar Bear symbolised the Americas and a Giant Palm tree swung into view to offer a flavour of the Caribbean. A huge peacock for the exotic colours of Asia and a European float was in black and white.

Then stadium announcer, veteran Scottish rugby commentator Bill McLaren announced: "One lady wasn't going to miss out on the fun.... Nessie!" As a giant green "Loch Ness Monster" entered the arena.

Nessie apart, the 1986 Ceremony bore striking similarities to that of the 1970 Games with displays by the massed pipe bands and Scottish country dancing. Even the tartan was similar. The great violinist Sir Yehudi Menuhin, a freeman of Edinburgh, clearly relished the chance to play some Scottish reels.

Edinburgh 1986 bore striking similarities to the Opening Ceremony in the Scottish capital 16 years earlier ©Getty Images Edinburgh 1986 bore striking similarities to the Opening Ceremony in the Scottish capital 16 years earlier ©Getty Images

Sprinter Allan Wells, a young volunteer in 1970, brought the baton into the stadium in 1986. He was escorted by athletes Lackie Stewart, Rosemary Stirling, Rosemary Payne, and Ian Stewart, boxer Tom Imrie and fencer Sandy Leckie.  All had been gold medallists at Edinburgh's other Games in 1970.

High winds had threatened a parachute jump by the Royal Marines. They jumped right on the limit. The Scottish Saltire, carried by champion jumper Jackie Smith, arrived right on schedule.

Four years before, a jump to the stadium in Brisbane had been cancelled because of the wind. The display was masterminded by Ric Birch, later to produce Sydney's stunning Olympic opening in 2000.

A giant Kangaroo called Matilda provided one of the great visual images of the ceremony, but the musical accompaniment was a performance that Brisbane would now prefer to forget. A specially adapted version of "Tie me Kangaroo down Sport" was performed by Rolf Harris.

By then, every Commonwealth Games opening had become a huge production number.

As part of the television presentation for Auckland 1990, the audience saw pre-recorded segments which showed the arrival by canoe of the Queen's baton in Auckland harbour that morning and traditional Maori rituals.

New Zealand equestrian champion Mark Todd rode his famous horse Charisma as he carried the baton into the Mount Smart stadium. Though he passed it to runner Peter Snell before it reached the dais, Todd's very appearance had set a precedent. His sport of eventing was not part of the Games and hitherto the rules had called for a former Commonwealth medallist to end the relay.

In 1994 the Games were in Victoria, British Columbia, and the Queen arrived to open in a McLauchlin Buick, made for her father King George VI when he visited Canada in 1939. Representatives of the Coast Salish first nation presented her with a welcome figure "a talisman of peace and harmony."

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh arrived in style for the Opening Ceremony of Victoria 1994 ©Getty Images The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh arrived in style for the Opening Ceremony of Victoria 1994 ©Getty Images

The show included a demonstration of the traditional Iroquois game of Lacrosse before Her Majesty entered a First Nation "Big House" to read her address and open the Games.

Since 1998, every major Opening night has been just that. The darkness enables theatrical lighting to be used to its greatest effect. As with the Olympic ceremonies, the "protocol elements" must be woven seamlessly into the Ceremony.

The flags of past, present and future hosts are raised and as at the Olympics a ceremonial Games flag is hoisted. It was originally trooped with military precision by soldiers but often athletes now form the colour party. The flag has changed too. Gone is the elegant Royal blue standard with a gold crown and chain to demonstrate the links binding the Commonwealth. In 2002, this was replaced by a new white banner .The new crest "The Bar" was designed to embody "Humanity, Equality and Destiny" representing "the trinity of ideals the Games embraces".

In the early years, the athlete's oath reflected ties to the mother country Great Britain.

"We declare that we are all loyal subjects of His Majesty the King "was how the oath began in the early days. This was taken whilst grasping the British flag.

By the time shooter Abhinav Bindra did so in 2010 he took hold of the flag of India.

"We shall take part in the Commonwealth Games in the true spirit of sportsmanship, recognising the rules which govern them and desirous of participating in them for the honour of our Commonwealth and the glory of sport."

The competitor chosen this week will be the third Scot to take the oath. In 1970, it was high jumper Crawford Fairbrother and in 1986, runner Anne Purvis.

This ritual used to follow the official opening but in recent years organisers have changed the order. It now takes place much earlier in the ceremony.

The parade of the teams is always keenly awaited. Organisers try to balance the wish for every team to get its moment in the limelight with time constraints. In Melbourne 2006, teams entered by continent rather than in strict alphabetical order. In Glasgow they have tried to encourage as many athletes as possible to attend. The village is within walking distance of Celtic Park.

Countries walked out in continent order during the parade of nations at Melbourne 2006 ©Getty ImagesCountries walked out in continent order during the parade of nations at Melbourne 2006 ©Getty Images

2010 hosts India will be the first nation in this time and Scotland bring up the rear of the procession. Their uniforms have caused controversy but this should come as no surprise. It has gone with the territory of Opening Ceremony wear ever since Harold Abrahams fumed about his 1924 Olympic threads as "Ghastly ill fitting team gear made of shoddy material".

At the 1970 Opening Ceremony in Edinburgh it was the England women who were at the centre of a row. They were issued with Green outfits that they considered unflattering. This was after all the era of the mini skirt. Some threatened to trim them to mini length. In turn team officials threatened them with expulsion from the Ceremony if they did so. The veteran sports writer Donald Saunders told his readers in the Daily Telegraph that the dresses "had a touch of the maiden art about them".

Those Games were the first to be attended by the Queen but the Games have had a royal opening since 1958. Prince Philip piloted himself into Cardiff to read a message from the Queen which for the first time had been carried by relay runners. He then performed the formal opening.

Cardiff's organisers announced that "Although it is recognised that the Opening Ceremony needs no supplement being most moving and spectacular, it was considered reasonable that some additional programme might be appended, typical of the life of Wales as the Land of Song."

So a choir of mass voices accompanied by the Band of the Welsh Guards were chosen "to render a programme of choral singing".

This included "Cydganeb Pawb", the composition of the conductor Morgan Nicholas and originally written for wartime evacuees from Gordonstoun school (The Duke's own alma mater).

Since 1958 the only Games not opened by a member of the British Royal family were those in Kuala Lumpur when the ritual was performed by Tuanku Ja'afar, the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong (King of Malaysia). This was the only time the declaration was not made in English. After his speech he beat a ceremonial gong, another first.

In the last 20 years, the Queen has opened all but two Commonwealth Games. 2002 marked 50 years since her accession . The organisers in Manchester wanted something special.

Kirsty Howard and David Beckham presented the baton to the Queen at the Manchester 2002 Opening Ceremony ©Getty ImagesKirsty Howard and David Beckham presented the baton to the Queen at the Manchester 2002 Opening Ceremony ©Getty Images

"She had only ever attended the opening or the closing of the Games however it was felt appropriate that in her Jubilee year, the Queen should attend both."

Sir Steve Redgrave launched the Games by beating a huge drum, the gift of previous hosts Kuala Lumpur.

Dignitaries arrived in black cabs and performers dressed in the colours of Manchester United and Manchester City demonstrated their skills on the ball.

As the Ceremony came to its climax, a balloon appeared above the stadium. Suspended below was acrobat Lindsay Butcher with the Queen's baton which she handed to heptathlon champion Denise Lewis waiting on stage. Great Commonwealth champions joined the relay on this climatic leg before David Beckham appeared in a brilliant white tracksuit adorned with the British flag. He was joined by Kirsty Howard, a youngster with a serious heart condition. He had befriended her when she had been the mascot to the England football team. Together they presented the baton.

At Melbourne 2006, Youth Ambassador Harry White also greeted the Queen.

"You are the glue that has held us all together in the great Commonwealth of nations," he said.

Then Dame Kiri Te Kanawa sang Happy Birthday in anticipation of the Her Majesty's 80th later in the year.

In Delhi four years ago, it fell to Prince Charles to read the Queen's message and open the Games. After this, an adjustment to the protocol allowed Indian President Pratibha Patil to speak. "Let the Games begin," she said.

In Glasgow, the Ceremony will be slightly different but the sentiment will be the same. "Bring it on!"

Philip Barker has worked as a television journalist for 25 years. He began his career with Trans World Sport, then as a reporter for Skysports News and the ITV breakfast programme. A regular Olympic pundit on BBC Radio, Sky News and Talksport, he is associate editor of the Journal of Olympic History, has lectured at the National Olympic Academy and contributed extensively to Team GB publications. His latest book, Lord's First: 200 Years of Making History at Lord's Cricket Ground, has recently been published. To follow him on Twitter click here.