Fireworks still cracking about the place as the opening ceremony for Glasgow 2014 winds up. Well, I must admit I thought that was pretty good fun. Never really took things too seriously, aside from the serious moments of reflection, and all of the athletes looked like they were having a good time. Thanks for joining our coverage from Glasgow and keep reading for the next 11 days as our writers bring you the best coverage from the Commonwealth Games.
One of Scotland's best, Primal Scream, now ringing out around the ground as this ceremony wraps up and fireworks burst out all along the River Clyde and across the city of Glasgow.
Ideals, shared goals etc etc.... and we are officially open! Fireworks thunder again and the Games have begun.
Chris Hoy receives the baton from his 97-year-old great uncle. Hoy is everywhere! Lovely moment there.... 97... what a sterling knock. And finally, Liz gets the mike. Come on Liz... make it rain official openings. Hold on, Prince Imran can't get the lid off to get the note. Hoy to the rescue... he can't do it either! And finally, after some comedic interplay, Liz has the goods.
Opening Ceremony for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games
Dancers perform. Photo: James Brickwood
Prince Imran talking Queen's Baton relay. I can see some of these athletes checking their watches. Let's start wrapping this up. big guy. We've got bowls to play first thing. And as if he can read minds, Prince Imran, as one royal to another, asks Liz up on stage to officially make this happen. The baton enters the arena (it's not on fire, for those of you not familiar with this particular piece of silverware), but contains a note from the Queen. What could it possibly say?
There's a passionate 'welcome to Glasgow' speech happening. Meanwhile, Rod Stewart is doing this...
I never thought I'd be able to stand in the Celtic Board Room in front of the trophy case. . . with no pants. pic.twitter.com/FClLZZm0ke— Rod Stewart (@rodstewart) July 23, 2014
Time for the oath from athletes and officials. It's all about good sportsmanship and level playing fields and not about grinding opponents into the ground. Not sure what a few of our former cricket captains would make of all this. Now Prince Imram, Malaysian royalty, moves to the stage. He is the head of the Commonwealth Games movement. And a touching moment here as everyone pauses for a moment of silence for those who died in the #MH17 tragedy.
Up goes the flag to a stirring rendition of Loch Lomond. Firewords resounding around the stadium now as Billy Connolly up on the big screen spinning a yarn about Nelson Mandela and Glasgow. In 1986, Glasgow renamed a street Nelson Mandela Place - the same street where the South African consulate was. Apartheid was still in full swing then and the consulate had to put Nelson Mandela's name on their mailing address. Very good work.
And now a message from the International Space Station. They've pulled out all stops. Huge Commonwealth Games fans up there. Right into their squash. Violinist Nicola Bennedetti serenades the Commonwealth Games flag now as it enters the arena, carried by people in all white suits that look like they might have featured in a Backstreet Boys video. Oh look, Ian Thorpe is one of them! Chantel Petticlerc from Canada there as well, the great Kenyan Kip Keino on one corner, double Olympic champion Shelley-Ann Fraser-Price also on duty.
You are supposed to text the word FIRST to 70333 and and that donates five quid. Not sure if this works outside of the UK I must admit. I'm sure it would. Anybody back home willing to give it a go? You can also donate online at UNICEF I'd imagine.
Chris Hoy is back. And kilted up to boot. Time to get this UNICEF fundraiser off and racing. Waiting for details on how exactly you can help.
And occchhh aye it's the Scots! The Celtic Park crowd absolutely loves this. They've been waiting all night for this and up goes a mighty roar.
Once wasn't enough for Rod Stewart. He's back for an encore then straight home for a cuppa and off to bed.
Righto, so the athletes are all there. All we need now is QEII to give it the all clear and we can start polishing the lawn bowls.
And here come the Scots and up goes a mighty roar around Celtic Park. The blue and white flag goes up and Euan Burton leads in the home nation. Great vibe here in Glasgow. The gents looking dashing in their kilts as they make their way around the ground. The uniforms look great I think... plenty of debate around that but I'll give it a few thumbs up.
Picture:Tonga boxer Lomalito Moala at the #CommonwealthGames opening ceremony in a Celtic top http://t.co/vHEPBuHfSS pic.twitter.com/m1gv4G70yG — Scotsman (@TheScotsman) July 23, 2014
Can't complain about that view this evening #CommonwealthGames #GoScotland pic.twitter.com/TBH37jwmSF — Gordon Reid (@GordonReid91) July 23, 2014
Northern Ireland in the house. They've got plenty of punch and pedigree in the squared circle so keep an eye out for their boxers. Speaking of boxers, no Fred Evans for the Welsh, who just entered the arena. The Olympic silver medalist wasn't given an accreditation after he copped an assault conviction earlier in the year.
Isle of Man next cab of the rank, famous for cats without tails among other things. They have top five hats but the standard tracksuit combo has seen them plummet down the best-dressed list. Jersey next for the Channel Islands.
Now the English with squash champ Nick Matthews waving the flag. They were worried the Scots would boo them back over border, given the looking referendum about Scottish independence, but everyone must be feeling generous tonight. England stacked with big stars and they are a big chance to top the medal count at these Games.
Well, it's Europe now. Cyprus leading the charge and the home nations of the Isles won't be too far behind. We're nearly there ladies and gentlemen.
British hurdling great Colin Jackson now on the UNICEF roadshow, helping raise money for research into helping give premmie babies the best chance at life. He's got Scottish flags in the background so this means the British Isles isn't far away. And here's Alex Ferguson! Sir Alex lending a hand tonight as well, now that he's got a bit of time on his hands.
Mike Brownlee leads in the Falkland Islands. Guyana next on the list. Are we there yet?
Olympic javelin champ Keshorn Walcott leads in Trinidad and Tobago. Even without the USA here there's plenty of quality in the track and field competition. A fair few sunglasses at night for some of the cool men from the islands. And now to former Pussycat Doll Nicole Sherzinger somewhere in the Americas. I'm not making that up. I'll explain later. Or maybe not. But it's about UNICEF and raising money for kids, so that's a good thing. Bermuda looking very yacht club up top, bus driver down below. Excellent, excellent outfits.
St Lucia rocking some Caribbean tartan and the gents with some very hipster bow ties. Top five.
Kirani James at the helm for Grenada. He's the defending 400m Olympic champion and will be the hot favourite for the event here in Glasgow.
The British Virgin Islands led by longjumper Chantel Malone. I can attest to the fact the Virgin Islands make some of the most potent rum on the planet. It would keep my Kia going for a week.
Anguila leads the Caribbean nations, now Antigua and Barbuda hot on their heels. A great sprinting heritage in the region and you'll see plenty of these athletes feature on the track in the 400m and under events.
I had been debating whether to post this pic or not but I can't resist. It was such a lovely day today that, as is the tradition in the UK, everyone took their shirts off and started sunbathing. These two fit fellas included.
Zambia make their way around Celtic Park now, which can only mean we are getting close to the end of the African contingent.
Mozambique enter the arena. Not a Commonwealth nation, you say? They speak Portuguese? They do. But they were admitted to the Commonwealth in 1995, so get a gig at the Games. Nigeria stepping it up a level with the unis now. Lovely kit. Now for Rwanda, a great story I think. A number of the athletes have lost family members in the genocide and have risen above. They nation has embraced cycling and are currently crowd-sourcing for a water filtration system. You can here here at the Indiegogo project.
Nigel Amos on the flag for Botswana as the first of the African nations enter the house. Now for Cameroon, which features controversial weightlifter Daniel Koum, who competed for Australian in Delhi but wasn't exactly welcomed back this time after that whole blackmail scandal. So he switched back to Cameroon. Just like that. Kenya now, featuring the wonderful David Rudisha, the Olympic 800m champion and world record holder.
#CommonwealthGames is now the #1 trending topic on Twitter in Ireland. Who says we're not interested in he friendly games? — Keith Mills (@KeithM) July 23, 2014
The Tongans loving it out there, one of them getting around with a Celtic jumper. Vanuatu next in line, Kylie Minogue the background music obviously. And now more Chris Hoy, who is in Malawi with UNICEF trying to help sick children have better access to vital healthcare.
The Cook Islands now mention of Captain Cook - are they torturing us re the woeful state of our cricket? #openingceremony #CommonwealthGames — Charlotte (@Charlottemorg) July 23, 2014
Norfolk Island represent. Now PNG with my early uniform highlight. That is all sorts of winning. Samoa rolling on now, they'll be big in the weightlifting and of course rugby. Some very substantial lads getting about in that team.
Here are the Kiwis looking very crisp in their black and white kits. Valerie Adams, the Olympic champion shotputter, leading the charge. Rugby Sevens will be a big feature for them and they've knocked over the Aussies in the netball final for the past two games.
Very few people can get away with wearing a silver suit, but Rod is Rod! #CommonwealthGames — Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) July 23, 2014
The beard of weightlifter Damon Kelly a particular highlight. Here's a closer look. Marvel in the volume.
Sri Lanka arrive and I have to say, the big screen at Celtic Park is out of this world. The largest in Europe we are told and I wouldn't be arguing. Cut scene on the screen now in PNG, Australia's northern neighbour. UNICEF on hand to provide life-saving vaccinations to littlies. Now for the Oceania nations - and it's the Aussies heralded by AC/DC's Back in Black! Anna Meares a proud carrier of the flag. Uniforms look the goods. And they're having plenty of fun out there as well.
Without doubt - and with the greatest respect to the athletes - the stars of this parade are the little Scottish terriors with the names of the nations on them. Straight out of the Pal commercial. So, so chumpy. Pakistan enters the arena, followed by Singapore.
Borneo in the house - a one man team. That would certainly speed things up.
Ewen McGregor is back. Something 'amazing' is going to happen. The Games has partnered with UNICEF to support children across the Commonwealth. Some great work being shown as a Scottish teacher is filmed in Bangladesh teaching children to swim. Ewen asking for a simultaneous donation at the end of the ceremony. Now the great man himself, Sachin Tendulkar, urges everyone to pitch in and put children first. I'm sold.
The athletes not far away now - lots of people out there running around with chairs but I don't think that's going to be enough. All designed to showcase the friendliness of the Scots. Flora from Glasgow - THE Flora from Glasgow - welcomes India to the arena as the first team in the house tonight. They hosted the Games in 2010 and Vijay Kumar gets the gig on the flag.
We prepare now for the Loch Lomond seaplane to touch down in the mighty River Clyde to deliver the Baton. It's been travelling around Scotland since June and is now being carried by Scottish adventurer Mark Beaumont.
And we are being serenaded by a haunting acoustic version of 500 Miles by The Proclaimers. It sounds weird but I'm loving this. The crowd starts clapping out of time to an arrangement that doesn't require clapping. It stops abruptly when everyone realises how awful that sounded.
Anthem time. God Save the Queen. Robbie Shepherd on the vocal chords. No music, all voice... pure. Good work my man. Now the drums and pipes thunder back to life.
Ahhh now some proper pipes and drums as the Scottish Regiment marches in to Celtic Park, sporans swaying in the breeze. This is the stuff. They herald the arrival of the chief executive officer of the Commonwealth, Queen Elizabeth II and her fella, Prince Phil. And that, my friends, is a pimping ride as the Bentley rolls into the stadium. Red Arrow jets overhead.... what more could you want.
The Queen arrives for the Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony. Photo: James Brickwood
A couple of official types up there now, which is about the time the crowd usually tunes out for a few minutes. But... they're back now as the one and only Susan Boyle gets stuck right into the Mull of Kintyre.
Rod just has everyone in the palm of his hand now. This is completely epic. Ends it with a little 'woo hoo' and that sets the punters on fire. And from Rod Stewart to a little history lesson of the Commonwealth Games. That was seamless.
Rod Stewart performs at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony. Photo: James Brickwood
He sounds terrific, does Rod. And he doesn't look a day over 65 either.
People in the street now joining in - even the police as they all belt out Rhythm of My Heart. Oh this is stirring folks. Ordinary Glaswegians lighting it up. And here she is IRL, resplendent in leather pants. Very rock and roll but not really the weather, is it Amy?
Comedian Karen Dunbar is the host of the night. We're getting ready for the Queen's Baton, which went through 71 nations to get to Celtic Park. Cut to the athletes who are milling around outside. Local singer/songwriter Amy McDonald about to feature. She's kind of a big deal around these parts.
Opening number coming to a close. Solid start. Now, where are The Proclaimers. Let us wait no longer.
People with golf clubs and girls doing highland flings on whiskey barrels. SCOTLAND!
Twitter already awash with people wondering if someone getting headbutted or glassed will be a feature of the evening. I suspect not.
And a gay marriage reference! Thank God our PM isn't here. Not sure how well that one will go down with the host of nations here that have outlawed homosexuality. That's the elephant in the stadium. Anyway, back to the festivities. Loch Lomond now being sung. And people wearing what look like those mini edam cheese balls but I'm sure that can't be right.
The field has a big brown tarp over it (may not be a tarp) and we are away with a musical tribute to all things Scottish. Lots of tartan. Lots. They are listing in song all the amazing things Scotland has to offer. Let's see if fried Mars Bars get a run.
And here we go! A very Trainspotting start with Ewen McGregor welcoming fans via the big screen. His hair looks luscious - almost in the same league as Des Hasler. And the countdown has begun. Whooshka.
I had hoped the night would start with Craig Moore running out in a Rangers shirt and going in with a studs-up tackle on Clyde the mascot but it's not happening unfortunately.
Getting closer folks. The lead-up to this is even longer than waiting for an Origin match to start on Channel Nine, although with more bagpipes and less Brad Fittler.
Olympic champion Anna Meares will be on flag duty for the Aussies tonight. She will then be rushed out for a quick press conference and then tucked safely into bed to ensure she doesn't spend too much time on her legs, which will be needed later on to dominate at the velodrome.
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phil are going to open the Games tonight. I believe they are positioning the good Duke as far away from a microphone as possible just in case he decides to make a contribution. And speaking or royalty, ladies and gentlemen, we are going to bring you Susan Boyle tonight as well. Trust me, no expense has been spared.
And if Chris Hoy has been one of the sporting faces, Billy Connolly - one of Glasgow's favourite sons - has been the cultural face. He's a favourite son and a native of the city. And there's good mail he'll be out at a certain pub back over the other side of the Clyde later on having a pint or two. We hard that from a cab driver so it's 100 per cent on the money.
There was an update this morning on the ticket sales, with officials saying 95 per cent have already been snapped up. That's a good thing, because nothing guarantees these type of things being declared a 'success' as full stands. It all kicks off tomorrow with the lawn bowls so strap yourself in folks.
Plenty of good music being piped around Celtic Park to get this crowd pumped up before the main event gets underway. I'm chained to the spot but am hearing disturbing rumours they've somehow run out of red and white wine already. Can this be true? If so, an unmitigated disaster for the Glasgow Games. Should have gone back to Delhi.
And look who's having a tweet?
I'm very nervous and very proud to be performing at the Commonwealth Games #2014Ceremony tonight in Glasgow.— Rod Stewart (@rodstewart) July 23, 2014
I can see Sir Chris Hoy up there on the BBC stand being interviewed as part of the TV broadcast. He's been the face of the Games in many ways. They love the lad around these parts and have named the new velodrome in his honour. He's retired now and I suspect may be able to wear normal pants now his calves have returned to something resembling those of a regular human.
Good evening/morning everyone. Thanks for joining our live coverage of the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games here in sunny Glasgow. And sunny it has been, with the host city enjoying the hottest day of the year so far as temperatures soar to a sweltering 26 degrees. The Commonwealth Games mightn't generate the same sort of buzz as the Olympics - and rightly so - but this bonny city on the banks of the Clyde has really embraced the event and there's certainly a lovely energy around the place. It all starts at Celtic Park, home of the famous Glaswegian football team, as 40,000 fans get ready to see it all kick off. They were going to blow up a building at one point as part of the ceremony but I think we're going to end up with Rod Stewart instead, so it could be a similar result.