Euan Burton secured a golden end to his judo career at the Commonwealth Games, where Scotland produced their biggest ever single-sport medal haul, but there was disappointment for his wife Gemma Gibbons, who had to settle for silver.
Burton had come out of retirement when the opportunity presented itself to fight for Scotland in Glasgow – and the twice middleweight world championship bronze medalist needed all of his experience having chosen to step up two weights after moving into coaching following London 2012.
The 35-year-old, who suffered a disappointing first-round exit at the Olympics, produced some sublime judo against heavier men to make it to the final, where he threw Shah Hussain Shah of Pakistan before holding him down to submission and taking in the wave of euphoria as the Saltires flew around Hall 3.
Flower of Scotland was to be the anthem of judo’s final session on its return to the Commonwealth Games for the first time in 12 years, as heavyweights Sarah Adlington and Chris Sherrington also won gold.
Edinburgh Ratho fighter Matthew Purssey, born and raised in Surrey before moving to Edinburgh in 2002, had to settle for silver as he was beaten by South African Zack Piontek in the final of the under-90kgs, while Glasgow’s Andrew Burns won bronze through the repechage.
England may have topped the medal table, ahead on silver, but Scotland’s six golds– a pair on the opening night from the Renicks sisters – two silver and five bronze eclipsed the efforts of the swimmers at Melbourne 2006.
Burton said: “I have played my part as an athlete for the last 15 years for Judo Scotland, most of the time representing Great Britain but certainly doing that with my Scottish cap on.”
Gibbons fell just short of being able to ensure the fairytale ending when the Olympic silver medallist was beaten by upcoming Wales fighter Natalie Powell in the under-78kgs final.