Scotland did not need to work hard to convince its top stars to compete at Birmingham 2022.

The Commonwealth Games is the only multi-sport event where the country's athletes take part in their national colours, and as such it comes attached with a huge amount of pride.

"We haven't had to convince any of them," said Elinor Middlemiss, Scotland's Birmingham 2022 Chef de Mission.

"We get great commitment from our athletes. 

"Despite a crowded calendar, there's a real will and a want to compete for Scotland and win medals for Scotland at the Commonwealth Games. 

"It's obviously something we're really proud of and we're really delighted that all our multi-Olympic, Commonwealth and world champions are all incredibly keen to represent Scotland at the Games."

Big name athletes committed to the Scottish team at an early stage, with Tokyo 2020 Olympic swimming champions signing-up in December.

Duncan Scott made history in Japan, as the four medals he returned home with was the most won by a British athlete at a single Olympics.

He won gold as part of the men's 4x200 metres relay line-up, and is no stranger to the Commonwealth Games.

At Gold Coast 2018, Scott won six medals, including the gold in the 100m freestyle.

Kathleen Dawson was part of the British team in Tokyo which won the 4x100m mixed medley relay in a world record time, and has been named in the Commonwealth Games squad for the third time.

Duncan Scott won six medals at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games ©Getty Images
Duncan Scott won six medals at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games ©Getty Images

In October, Scotland named Tokyo 2020 Olympians Laura Muir, Josh Kerr, Jake Wightman, Eilish McColgan, Jemma Reekie and Andy Butchart to its athletics team.

Muir won silver in Japan over 1500 metres, and is set for a Commonwealth Games return after missing Gold Coast 2018 to focus on her veterinary exams.

Kerr also won a medal over 1500m in Tokyo, taking bronze.

"Having them on early was fantastic," said Middlemiss.

"They've all committed and accepted their early pre-selection for the Commonwealth Games.

"So we're delighted and obviously they are huge role models for the rest of the team as well."

Scotland's team size for Birmingham looks set to be around the 220 mark.

Numbers have been boosted following qualification in men's and women's rugby sevens, men's and women's hockey and netball.

Middlemiss, a badminton player, competed in five Commonwealth Games for Scotland so knows what it means to represent the country at the top level.

She won two bronze medals - in the women's doubles alongside Sandra Watt at Kuala Lumpur 1998 and then in the mixed team at Manchester 2002.

These quite rightly take pride of place at home.

"I started in '86 as a youngster and that was just incredible to have that experience when you're that young, in Edinburgh, my hometown as well," she said.

"So that has a lot of really fond memories.

"It was a lot later when I was able to win my first medal, which was '98 out in Malaysia. 

Laura Muir won silver at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games ©Getty Images
Laura Muir won silver at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games ©Getty Images

"That was incredible as badminton is obviously one of their national sports. So the size of the stadium and the crowd was just much more raucous than it would have been in other countries."

Middlemiss was the deputy Chef de Mission for Scotland at their home Glasgow 2014 Games, as well as at Gold Coast 2018.

No woman has held the top Chef de Mission job for the country before.

"It's fantastic to be the first woman," she said.

"To come from an athlete side, to progress to the professional side and become Chef de Mission, it's certainly an honour. 

"I've had the opportunity to work with some really experienced people over the years. 

"I've had my two deputy roles to gain the experience needed to lead the team as a Chef

"Because I'm employed full time by Commonwealth Games Scotland, the Chef role sits on top of that and it gives me lots of opportunity to be totally embedded in all the planning and processes and protocols. 

"It sets me in really good stead to lead the team in Birmingham."

The home Games in Glasgow has left a fantastic legacy, Middlemiss believes.

"Apart from the legacy with the Village giving housing within the Glasgow footprint, or the facilities that were built like the Emirates [Arena] and the velodrome, there was also lots of infrastructure road-wise that made a huge, huge difference to the host city," she said. 

"It also had a wider impact on sport participation across Scotland and interest in clubs. 

"So it had a huge amount of legacy benefit. 

Glasgow hosted the Commonwealth Games in 2014 which resulted in long-lasting legacy benefits ©Getty Images
Glasgow hosted the Commonwealth Games in 2014 which resulted in long-lasting legacy benefits ©Getty Images

"Also, for the actual athletes who were in the team at the time, for them to perform in front of a home crowd was fantastic for them. 

"I'm sure they won't forget it."

Although Birmingham 2022 is not a home Games for Scotland, crossing the border to England means it will be the closest thing.

"A home Games brings challenges but opportunities as well," Middlemiss said. 

"We've lived through Glasgow which was exceptional, so having another one so close in the UK is excellent. 

"It gives an opportunity for bigger travelling support from Scotland. 

"We know we're going to sold out venues and it will be fantastic to have that crowd back. They will have the support of their friends and family who will travel. 

"The other side of it is being familiar with the conditions and a number of the venues. 

"I think that's a real advantage of a UK-based Games."

Scottish Commonwealth Games stars include lawn bowler Alex Marshall, who won his fifth gold medal in Gold Coast.

Sprinter Allan Wells, the Olympic 100m champion at Moscow 1980, has topped the podium four times, and diver Peter Heatly won gold at three consecutive Games between 1950 and 1958.

Cyclist Sir Chris Hoy, a six-time Olympic champion, won two Commonwealth golds during his career.

The biggest hero for home Scottish crowds at Edinburgh 1986 was Liz Lynch - later world champion and Olympic silver medallist Liz McColgan - who was unemployed and on the dole when she won the 10,000m by a wide margin.

Her daughter Eilish will be hoping for success of her own in Birmingham.

Alex Marshall has won five Commonwealth Games lawn bowls golds for Scotland ©Getty Images
Alex Marshall has won five Commonwealth Games lawn bowls golds for Scotland ©Getty Images

Like every other team, Scotland has had to factor the COVID-19 pandemic into its planning for this year's Games.

"It's impacted everybody's daily life as well as their sporting life," said Middlemiss.  

"We've got some real experts who have been helping us with the planning and the protocols. 

"We're working on that at the moment, to make sure that we get the strongest team to the Games, least impacted by COVID. 

"We're monitoring the situation for the summer and preparing for all the challenges. 

"With the talented group of staff we've got and some of the experts in our team, we're looking at the COVID conditions and how to help the athletes get to the Games in the best possible shape, and operate within a COVID restricted Games if that's where we are in the summer." 

Middlemiss attended the Birmingham 2022 site visits in March, with the team set to be split up across the three Villages at the University of Birmingham, NEC and the University of Warwick.

"Birmingham gave some really good presentations, some really good information," she said. 

"There were some real quality venue visits as well. 

"I certainly came away reassured that they were on track and were looking to, obviously deliver in a different model, but deliver successfully. 

"I'm anticipating a successful Games.

"We'll be across all the Villages with the sports we're participating in. Our planning is reflecting that. 

"We've got to adapt, we've got to compromise. 

"It's just about getting the messaging out to everybody, so the athletes and the staff are ready to deal with the situation, so they can still perform at their best."