THERE’S nothing quite like being the youngest member of one of Scotland’s most successful sporting dynasties to pile on the pressure. It’s a situation that Seonaid McIntosh has learnt to live with but she admits that having a mother and sister who are two of Scotland’s most decorated Commonwealth Games athletes certainly ups the expectations on the youngest McIntosh.

Her older sister is Jen who, at the age of 24, has already amassed five Commonwealth Games shooting medals as well as an Olympic Games appearance. Her mother, Shirley, was Scotland’s most decorated female Commonwealth Games athlete with four medals, until Jen surpassed her record. So for 19-year-old Seonaid, there is something of an assumption that she will continue the family tradition of success. “I do feel a little bit under pressure,” she admits. “The expectation is almost tangible sometimes – I’ll go down to the British Championships and people will automatically expect me to shoot well. It does bother me a little bit because if I do really well, I’m happy with myself but a lot of other people just think that’s normal when it’s not normal – I don’t always shoot well! But I try not to let it get to me too much.”

In the coming weeks, McIntosh has the opportunity to make her own piece of history; a week on Monday, the European Championships begin in Hungary where the teenager will contest the 10m Air Rifle event.

Having set a new British junior record just a few weeks ago, McIntosh is in good form and is eager to perform well on the European stage. “I’m excited but it’s going to be tough because the standard of shooting in Europe has taken a huge leap upwards recently,” she says. “So I’m just thinking about going there and trying to shoot my best. I don’t set specific targets for myself – I just try and put in a good performance and hope that’s enough.”

These European Championships are of particular importance: they represent McIntosh’s final opportunity to qualify for the Rio Olympics and if she performs well, she could potentially secure her place in Team GB for this summer.

McIntosh emphasises that for her to achieve an Olympic spot is still a long shot but that fact that she is in with any chance at all has taken her by surprise. “I wasn’t expecting to be anywhere near making this Olympic team – I was just going with the flow and trying to get better,” she explains. “Then last year, someone mentioned that if I shot like I had been shooting, I had a chance. I couldn’t believe it! So since then, it’s been at the forefront of my mind. If I did get there, it would be so cool. I’m just really excited that it’s even a possibility.”

If McIntosh needs any advice in the coming weeks, she need not look far. While her mother and sister are hugely successful in the sport, it is someone else who perhaps has the biggest influence on her fledgling career. Her father, Donald, is the Head Rifle Coach for GB Shooting and so will be at McIntosh’s side if she needs any reassurance. He has already intervened, banning any talk of automatic Olympic qualification in an attempt to ease some of the pressure.

McIntosh’s rise to the upper echelons of her sport is an interesting tale; the assumption, considering her family history, is that she has always been a shooter but in fact, this could not be further from the truth. McIntosh consciously resisted entering the sport as she grew up, admitting that she wanted to be different. “When I was younger, I didn’t want to shoot at all,” she says. “I spent a lot of time on shooting ranges and people would ask me when I was going to start and I always said never, everyone else in my family does it so I don’t want to. I think I was just being contrary.”

But after joining her school team, McIntosh found a love for the sport that her family was steeped in. When her older sister went to the London Olympics, it triggered something inside the teenager and she realised that she wanted to take shooting seriously. Her improvement was remarkable – against all the odds, she qualified for Team Scotland at Glasgow 2014 and her progress has steadily continued since then.

And while some assume that being the sister of Scotland’s most successful female shooter is advantageous, McIntosh admits that it’s not always a positive thing. “I think having Jen there has been good and bad for me,” she says. “It’s good because it motivates me but it’s also not so good because I’m constantly comparing myself to her and thinking that Jen did this by a certain age so why can’t I do that too. I’m definitely more competitive with Jen than I am with anybody else.”

The European Championships and possible qualification for Rio may be McIntosh’s short-term goal but the teenager is looking much further ahead. “I’ve got a five-year plan,” she says. “There’s the Commonwealth Games in 2018 – I’d love to win a medal there. Then I finish university in 2019 so I’d like to take a year out to concentrate on the Tokyo Olympics – I’d love to shoot well there and maybe even win a medal. I hope I can improve that much by then.”