Commonwealth Games 2014 – on your marks: Glasgow ready for opening ceremony as Scotland promises to show ‘what we’re made of’

Celtic Park will host show with 2,000 volunteers, stars and 4,500 athletes

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More than one billion people around the world are expected to turn their attention to Scotland today as Glasgow stages the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

The spectacle will pre-prepared video on Europe’s largest LED screen, some 2,000 volunteers in artistic performances and the athletes’ parade, featuring more than 4,500 athletes from 71 nations and territories.

Organisers said the ceremony will show the world “what we’re made of” in Scotland, with appearances from Sir Chris Hoy, Sir Alex Ferguson and – for some reason – Nicole Scherzinger.

In an unprecedented move, the opening ceremony will also feature a Commonwealth-wide fundraiser for children, thanks to a partnership with children's organisation Unicef.

India will be first out for the parade as hosts of the previous games, while Judo player Euan Burton will lead out Team Scotland last. The rest of the nations and territories will appear by international region, each time accompanied by a Unicef film detailing what the charity is doing in that part of the world.

Euan Burton, multiple World and European medal winning judoka poses with the Saltire on 21 July, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland

A crowd of 40,000 will watch the ceremony in Celtic Park, which has been transformed for the occasion.

The Queen will attend as head of the Commonwealth, and read from a piece of paper that was placed in the games baton before it began its 287-day relay across the nations involved. 

While details of the launch have remained largely secret, singers Rod Stewart, Susan Boyle and Amy Macdonald are among those expected to perform.

The ceremonial flag will be hoisted at the opening of the games, where it will fly continuously throughout the event until it is lowered at the closing ceremony in Hampden Park on 3 August.

Video: Commonwealth Games 2014

Michael Cavanagh, the Commonwealth Games Scotland chairman, said: “What we are about to deliver in Glasgow, I think, will be the best ever Commonwealth Games.

“We have learned from Manchester and particularly London 2012, but we are ready to deliver something spectacular.”