Lewis Hamilton and Rory McIlroywere on Monday night confirmed as the leading contenders for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award – but Scottish athletes were ironically excluded from the final shortlist.
New Formula One world champion Hamilton and golf’s world number one McIroy were the two favourites for the prize on a list including footballer Gareth Bale, skeleton star Lizzy Yarnold, boxer Carl Froch, dressage rider Charlotte Dujardin, athlete Jo Pavey, gymnast Max Whitlock, swimmer Adam Peaty, and Paralympic skier Kelly Gallagher and her guide, Charlotte Evans.
All the home nations were represented apart from Scotland, whose athletes failed to secure a nomination for only the second time in the past decade.
The snub could barely have been more paradoxical.
Firstly, it is barely two months since the Scottish referendum, before which there were genuine fears about the sporting talent Britain would lose in the event of independence.
Secondly, Glasgow staged arguably the greatest ever Commonwealth Games, at which Scotland won a record-breaking 19 gold medals and 53 medals overall.
Thirdly, Sports Personality of the Year is being held in Scotland for the first time in its history.
Lastly, the chair of Sportscotland, Louise Martin, was on the nominations panel.
Those who failed to make the cut included: Commonwealth swimming champion Ross Murdoch, who famously beat Olympic silver medallist Michael Jamieson in the 200 metres breaststroke; and Commonwealth and European athletics medallists Eilidh Child and Lynsey Sharp, both of whom produced performances arguably equal to those of ‘Supermum’ Pavey.
Rory McIlroy won the British Open in July
The last time no Scots appeared on the shortlist was in 2010, when the country had the consolation of Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie being named Coach of the Year.
That was also the only year until now in which last year’s winner, Andy Murray, failed to secure a nomination since he burst onto the scene in 2005.
Of the 10 nominees, four were women, the highest proportion since 2008.
Voting takes place on the night of the live show, which comes from the SSE Hydro Arena in Glasgow on December 14.
And it will have a distinctly Scottish theme, with performances from Simple Minds, and Nicola Benedetti and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.
Murray said: “It has been a sensational year for sport in Scotland with the Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup amongst lots of other major events that have taken place there, and as a proud Scot it’s wonderful that we have been in the position to be able to host so many key events in the sporting calendar.
“Scotland did such a superb job of hosting the Commonwealths and the Ryder Cup, and I’m sure it will be no different for Sports Personality of the Year.
“It’ll be a special night for the whole of Scotland and the UK, celebrating some of our best sportsmen and women.”
The BBC admitted in September that it would review whether Scotland’s sports stars should be allowed to win the Sports Personality of the Year Award if the country voted for independence.