THERE will be an 80's throwback in Birmingham this weekend when the most stacked British men’s 1500m field assembled since the days of Seb Coe, Steve Cram and Steve Ovett battles it out for just three spots at next month’s World Championships in Doha. Moreover, of the five main contenders for the places, four of them just happen to be Scottish.

Let’s go by their times this year. Fastest this year so far is Charlie Da’Vall Grice of England, who stunned onlookers with a time of 3.30.62 in Monaco this year. Next is Edinburgh’s Josh Kerr, an emerging 21-year-old whose 3.33.60 earlier in the season shattered Scottish marks.

Next up, all of 0.36 secs back, is his Edinburgh AC pal Jake Wightman, a Commonwealth bronze medallist who has returned to his best after injury. Glasgow’s Neil Gourley, the reigning British Indoor Champion, is fifth fastest in the UK this year. Which only leaves the veteran smarts of European 3,000m indoor silver medallist Chris O’Hare, and a raft of other young contenders such as fast-rising Scots such as Sol Sweeney and Jamie Williamson.

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Whoever wins the day, it promises to be quite race. And such battles - perhaps some on a smaller scale - will occur all throughout this weekend’s British championships at the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham, even if Laura Muir has opted out of competing as she builds up her form again following a calf injury.

“It is a bit like the 80's again, when you have all these British 1500m runners vying for a spot year on year at the moment,” Gourley told Herald Sport as he travelled down to Birmingham. “It is exciting.

“It is hard to say there is one real favourite - it probably depends who you ask,” the 24-year-old added. “But I can categorically say that I am not the favourite.

"I quite enjoy that aspect of it - I am very much comfortable about going in under the radar. But if people are overlooking me or any of the other Scots for that matter they might be in trouble.

“It’s a little bit hard to predict how the final will go,” he added. “No one is likely to take it very hard from the gun but it will be a very fast finish and you will need to position yourself.

“Jake, Charlie, Josh, Chris all have similar strengths. They all finish very strongly, and don’t necessarily go from too far out. So I wouldn’t like to predict what will happen, because I really don’t know. But you are going to see a battle of positioning as I would put it and Chris has always been very good at it. I think if people are writing him off that isn’t particularly clever.”

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This has been a topsy turvy old season for Gourley, who was cruelly deprived the chance to tilt for what would have been a memorable European Indoor medal in his hometown of Glasgow when he was struck down by a fever just hours after qualifying in style for the 1500m final. The experience has made him even more determined to maximise whatever medal chances come his way.

“I don’t know if I will ever really get over that,” says Gourley. “But I can’t say I haven’t been able to use it as motivation, in fact I definitely have. I will never take it for granted any more being in those positions.

“It is difficult to learn from the situation because you don’t know exactly what went wrong,” he added. “At the same time, I had that opportunity, for all the world it seemed as though my preparation had gone perfectly. And it all went in one day.

"It just made me realise there aren’t that many opportunities as a professional athletes where you are in the final and in with a chance of getting a medal. Psychologically, it has just sharpened me up a little. Going forward there is going to be absolutely no room for error in the short window of opportunity I have as a professional athlete.

“I am quietly confident. I guess you could say I had an uncharacteristic race at the London Diamond League recently but we identified what went wrong there, and it was almost like something clicked a few weeks ago and training started to go well again. I am quite confident with the preparation I have had doing the 800m at the Scottish Championships. And I am excited to see if it will pay off at the weekend.

“After the disappointment of the indoors it would be a bit of redemption for me personally if I could get to a world championships. It looks like it would need a top two finish for myself - because I am certainly not going to rely on the selectors, which didn’t go my way last year. The end goal is still the Tokyo Olympics, but the worlds is certainly a big stepping stone towards it. I haven’t been in a competition at world level yet and I feel like I really need that living into an Olympic year. It would be huge for me.”