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CLOSING CEREMONY: Kylie pops into Hampden Park

Kylie Minogue  performs during the 2014 Commonwealth Games Closing Ceremony

Kylie Minogue performs during the 2014 Commonwealth Games Closing Ceremony

It was billed as “All Back To Ours” - a closing ceremony that owed its theme to the Glasgow tradition of extending a good night out at someone’s house after closing time.

She probably wouldn't get the luxury of singing seven interrupted songs in a row at an after-hours Glasgow tenement party but she was afforded that privilege at Hampden, Scotland's most iconic sporting venue, as the city celebrated a memorable 11-day sporting festival and passed the Commonwealth Games baton over to the 2018 hosts, the Gold Coast in Kylie's native Australia.

In doing so, Scotland's biggest city closed its Glasgow 2014 experience on a typically inclusive and outgoing nature as the city basked in the glory of what Commonwealth Games Federation chief executive Mike Hooper had earlier termed the "standout Games in the movement's history".

Okay, he might say that to all his party hosts but he will surely find agreement among a sizeable chunk of the thousands of athletes and the people who bought more than 1.2million tickets to the sporting action, as well as millions more television viewers.

Scottish sport has never witnessed anything like these Games and the bulk of the Hampden crowd were not just celebrating the successful staging of the Games but a Team Scotland performance that shattered all records, provided stories that touched the heart and success that prompted tears of joy among athletes and spectators alike.

Glasgow 2014 organisers had consistently promised an athlete-centred Games and the stars of the show were involved right from the start, bursting out of tents to the strains of Lulu, who even showed signs of rediscovering her Glasgow accent for the occasion.

Thankfully the earlier torrential rain had subsided, or many might have been tempted to remain under cover.

The sporting stars remained at the heart of the action, but the ceremony continued with a musical thank-you to the thousands of volunteers - the so-called Clyde-siders - and city workers whose work behind the scenes allowed the Games to be such a success.

Deacon Blue's crowd-pleaser Dignity - a song about a council worker who realises his dream of owning a boat - providing a fitting accompaniment as dozens of road workers, lollipop women, firefighters, paramedics and the like walked out under a banner with the age-old slogan 'Let Glasgow Flourish'.

The speeches saw CGF chairman Prince Imran declare the event "in every aspect the best Games ever", the resultant cheer dwarfed only by his praise for Team Scotland's performance.

After the Games were declared over and the Gold Coast gave its glimpse of what to expect in four years, it was over to Kylie.

Everyone's favourite former Neighbours star, complete with a headdress that would have seen her struggle to get past the bouncers in most Glasgow nightclubs, began a set that formed the backdrop to what was described as a Glasgow love story.

It moved through stages such as "the chase" and "the smooch", which came after the ultimate romantic gesture seen on Sauchiehall Street on a Saturday night - men throwing away their bags of chips to form a physical alliance with their respective partners.

Athletes from around the Commonwealth nations joined in and looked on, some no doubt more than a touch bemused, as hundreds of performers acted out routines ranging from ceilidh dances to the Slosh, a type of line dance strongly favoured by drunk aunties at Scottish weddings.

About 1,000 people recreated the scene of adolescent innocence from cult 1981 Scottish comedy Gregory's Girl where two young would-be-lovers lie on their backs and dance to the sky.

And the party ended just like any other late-night Glasgow gathering - with lashings of nostalgia and emotion - as folk singer Dougie MacLean performed Caledonia, which details an exiled Scot's homesick longing for his homeland.

Auld Lang Syne finished off the night as Glasgow bade farewell to some of the best times in its history - already a memory but one that will never be forgotten by anyone who was lucky enough to be involved.

 

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