Neil Gourley joined the expanding Caledonian club

of middle-distance medallists from athletics’ major showpieces with a sparkling surge to silver in the men’s 1500m at the European Indoor Championships in Istanbul last night.

He could scarcely have given more in a glorious pursuit.

Jakob Ingebrigtsen has denied Scots previously but also bowed to their prowess. The brilliant Norwegian bolted away from Josh Kerr to secure Olympic gold in Tokyo but was overpowered by Jake Wightman at the world championships last year. Gourley poked for further vulnerabilities, tracking his rival from start to finish. Emboldened by breaking the British record last weekend, the 28-year-old had come ready to live with his ferocious pace.

“Jakob likes to make it hard from the front,” he said. “That is his trademark. So we knew that was happening. It was just the case of trying to be right on him. When we went into the last lap, we were there. I executed how I wanted to. I just didn’t quite have it today.”

Ingebrigtsen lowered the championship record to 3:33.95 and will return tonight to hunt a repeat of the 1500-3000 double he landed in Torun 12 months ago. “It’s a championship so a lot of things can happen and you need to prepare for every type of scenario,” he said. “I know that Gourley is in good shape, but I felt strong.”

The runner-up’s time of 3:34.23 was formidable but it was his attitude that shone brightest. Overshadowed previously by his fellow Scots, his reputation now has a heft of its own. A point made, and then underscored, to the sponsors who dropped him when his Tokyo Olympic quest was derailed by illness and to UK Athletics which has continued to omit him from its world-class performance programme and the Lottery cash it brings.

Gourley will bring that silver home, take in a trip to Murrayfield for Scotland v Ireland next weekend, and then return Stateside to prepare for a spicy scrap with Wightman, Kerr and others ahead of August’s worlds in Budapest and then the Paris 2024 Olympics beyond.

“That’s the next goal: to be in the medals at the world level,” he said. “That’s part of why I’m here: that it is world-level racing against Jakob. You know you’re going to have to be absolutely world-class to win. But that’s encouraging.”

Melissa Courtney-Bryant picked up the first of three medals for the UK on the second night of the championships by repeating her bronze from Glasgow in 2019 in the women’s 3000m as Hanna Klein and Konstanze Klosterhalfen made it a German 1-2.

Daryll Neita was third in the women’s 60m in 7.12 sec with Switzerland’s Mujinga Kambundji supplementing her world indoor crown in equalling the championship best of 7.00. “I would have liked more,” the Londoner admitted. Elsewhere, Belgium’s Olympic champion Nafi Thiam made it a hat-trick of women’s pentathlon golds with a world record of 5055 points – with Holly Mills sixth.

This afternoon, Laura Muir will target her fifth European Indoor gold, having survived a tussle to reach the women’s 1500m final.

The Olympic bronze medallist was compelled to make a late charge to snatch victory in an ultra-slow opening heat in 4:23.20 and join fellow Brits Katie Snowden and

Ellie Baker in the showdown for medals. “It was just a matter of just trying to stay controlled and not panic,” she said.

The 29-year-old can now take a shot at history. Past masters Colin Jackson and Jason Gardener also possess four Euro indoor golds. A repeat of Muir’s 1500m triumphs in 2017 and 2019 would snap that tie as top Brit and underscore a hard winter’s work at home and abroad. “To win medals and to compete, that’s the fun bit,” the Scot added.

Elsewhere, Guy Learmonth insists he’ll take the lessons from his mistakes in his opening men’s 800m heat into tonight’s semi-finals.

“I’ve front run a lot of races this year and I know I can do that and hold my own,” the Borderer, 30, vowed. Keely Hodgkinson, who turned 21 yesterday, will bid to take a step closer to retaining her women’s 800m title in her semi. Reece Prescod heads UK hopes

in the men’s 60m.