EVEN the most casual observers can see that in Scotland, we’re currently enjoying a golden generation of sportswomen.

From the athletics track to the football pitch, and the cycling velodrome to the triathlon course, this country is producing world-class athletes at a rate few could have predicted.

We may be only 10 weeks into 2024 but already the signs are that Scotland’s sportswomen are, yet again, going to make their presence very much felt on the global stage this year.

And there’s no better time in which to make a mark than in an Olympic and Paralympic year.

For most of Scotland’s world-class sportswomen, it’s the Paris 2024 Olympics Games, which are now less than five months away, and the Paralympics, which are less than six months away, that will be their priority and it’ll afford many of Scotland’s sportswomen the perfect platform on which to shine.

Bearing that in mind, here’s who to watch out for over the coming months:

Laura Muir

The National: Laura Muir

Muir has established herself as a true great of global middle-distance running over the past few years.

Since 2019, the Milnathort athlete has won eight major championships medals, including World and Olympic silverware.

Muir’s consistency has been remarkable and matched by only a very select few track and field athletes of this generation.

The one gap in Muir’s CV is a global title and in Paris, she’ll have the chance to rectify this.

To win Olympic gold, she will likely have to defeat the greatest 1500m runner ever to have lived in the shape of Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon but given Muir’s talent, and her tenacity, there’s few who would write her off entirely.

Beth Potter

The National: Beth Potter is the new world triathlon champion

Potter’s journey from track athlete just over seven years ago to triathlon world champion in 2023 is an odyssey so outrageous that if someone had written the story in a novel, it would have been dismissed for being too outlandish.

Yet becoming world champion in one of the most physically demanding sports on the planet is exactly what Potter accomplished last year, winning the World Triathlon Series Finals in hugely impressive style to get her hands on the world title.

The new triathlon season, which begins this weekend, will be something of a new experience for Potter.

No longer is she the underdog; instead she is the person with the target on her back.

But Potter has yet to show any signs she will be adversely affected by the increased expectation upon her shoulders and if she continues to improve her performance, as she has managed each year since becoming a triathlete, Olympic gold is a distinct possibility.

Katie Archibald

The National: Katie Archibald

Archibald already has two Olympic gold medals to her name and this year she will be targeting the hat-trick.

The past almost two years have been severely disrupted for the track cyclist following the sudden death of her partner but Archibald has a competitive instinct like few others.

If the Glaswegian can get her mind and body ready for Paris, she will be heavily tipped to win that third Olympic gold to elevate her into an acclaimed, and tiny, group of GB Olympians who have won gold at three consecutive Games.

Sammi Kinghorn

The National: Samantha Kinghorn

It is impossible not to be impressed by Kinghorn.

After first finding the spotlight a decade ago, the 28-year-old has consistently proven she’s one of the best wheelchair sprinters on the planet, and has recently even begun to make her mark as a middle-distance racer too.

A gold and two silvers, in the T53 100m, 400m and 800m at last year’s World Championships are a mark of her consistency and having set a new T53 1500m world record just last month, the evidence suggests that Kinghorn is, physically, in as good shape as she’s ever been.

And so, all going to plan, the Paralympics are likely to see Kinghorn challenge for close to a handful of medals.

Sarah Robertson

The National: Sarah Robertson

There’s a handful of Scottish women who are in the running to make the final cut for Team GB’s Olympic hockey team but it’s Sarah Robertson who’s the front runner having established herself as a GB regular over the past decade.

The 30-year-old from Melrose was part of GB’s bronze medal-winning team at Tokyo 2020 and given their form since those Olympic Games, the Brits have certainly shown signs that another appearance on the Olympic podium is a distinct possibility.

Erin Cuthbert

The National: Erin Cuthbert

A decade ago, Scotland was producing only a select few female footballers who were capable of mixing it with the very best players in the world.

These days, however, the list of female players hailing from Scotland who can be considered genuinely world-class is far, far longer.

From Kim Little, who was one of the trailblazers and remains a stalwart in Arsenal’s team, to Caroline Weir who plays for Real Madrid, to Claire Emslie in the USA playing for Angel City FC, we are spoiled for choice when it comes to Scottish female footballers who are playing at the very highest level.

Someone who’s stands out as perhaps the very best of this illustrious group, however, is Erin Cuthbert.

The 25-year-old, who plies her trade south of the border with Chelsea, was named the Scotland national team’s female Player of the Year just last month.

This season she’s scored seven goals for her club, including two in the Women’s Champions League, with her performances helping, in no small part, to propel her club side to the top of the Women’s Super League. 

Neah Evans

The National: Neah Evans won silver in the women's road race (David Davies/PA)

Evans was something of a late starter when it comes to track cycling but she’s made up for that in impressive style in recent years. 

After winning her maiden world title in 2022 in the points race, she followed that up with a second world crown last year, in the madison, cementing her status as a truly world-class rider.

Evans’ strength, along with her talent as a bike rider, is her ability to perform under pressure, something that’s going to be vital if she’s going to become Olympic champion for the first time in Paris.

Katie Shanahan

The National:

Despite still being a teenager, Shanahan has established herself as one of the leading lights of the British swimming team.

She’s long been seen as a precious talent but in the past few years, has begun transforming that potential into international silverware.

Two Commonwealth medals and a European medal in 2022 marked her breakthrough into the big-time, with a fourth place in the 200m backstroke at last year’s World Championships confirming that she’s now genuinely ready to challenge for major global medals.

With a rock-solid mentality complementing her physical talents, Shanahan is most certainly one to watch out for at Paris 2024.

Seonaid McIntosh

The National: Seonaid McIntosh at Glasgow 2014.

Shooting may not garner as many headlines in the mainstream media as its athletes would perhaps like but in McIntosh, Scotland has someone who’s capable of grabbing more than a few column inches.

Hailing from a shooting family – both her parents, as well as her elder sister were all internationalists in the sport – it came as little surprise that McIntosh too possessed a talent for shooting.

This, however, has turned out to be something of an understatement; in the past few years, the 27-year-old has topped the world rankings in two different events, as well as setting a new world record in the 300m rifle prone event.

After underperforming at Tokyo 2020, McIntosh will have her sights set on putting that right in Paris.