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Glasgow 2014 Opening Ceremony gets Commonwealth Games off to uniquely Scottish start

By Gary Anderson insidethegames at Celtic Park in Glasgow

An extravaganza of music, dance and celebration got the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games off to a spectacular start here at Celtic Park tonight as the people of Glasgow and Scotland put on a party like only they can to start the 20th edition of the Games.

While quite rightly it will be the exploits of the athletes that will be the centre of attention over the next 11 days, there were stars of a different kind on show tonight as Rod Stewart, Billy Connolly, Susan Boyle and 71 Highland Terriers lit up the occasion here.

While Stewart, Boyle and other artists including Amy McDonald and local dance groups entertained the packed stands it was the little terriers who led each of the 71 teams into a into Celtic Park during the Athletes Parade that were a particular favourite and a uniquely Scottish touch.

In a break from tradition the teams were welcomed on by their region rather than in alphabetical order as part of a unique UNICEF campaign that was cleverly woven into the night’s proceedings.

Continuing on the theme of the six regions the Commonwealth Games Federation Flag was carried by Canadian Paralympic champion Chantal Peticlerc, Australian Olympic swimming champion Ian Thorpe, Jamaica’s Olymic and world sprint champion Shelley-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Malaysian Nicol David, Kenya’s Olympic champion Kip Keino and Scotland’s former world and European judo champion, Graeme Randall.

Then came the moment that everyone was waiting for as the Queen’s Baton finally made its way into Celtic Park were Hoy bounded up to the platform to present it to the Queen.

“The Baton Relay 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,” said the Queen.

“And now, that Baton has arrived here in Glasgow, a city renowned for its dynamic cultural and sporting achievements, for the warmth of its people, for this Opening Ceremony of the Friendly Games.”

The Queen went on to wish good luck to all the athletes taking part in competition and to thank the organisers, volunteers and workforce who made the Games possible.

She concluded: “It now gives me great pleasure to declare the 20th Commonwealth Games open.”