2014 is the year we've been waiting for

THIS is the year we have all been waiting for - 2014 - the Year of Glasgow.

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The ­Commonwealth Games will of course be the biggest event ever staged in Scotland, with some 6500 athletes and officials set to go for gold in Glasgow's world-class sporting venues this summer.

More than 92% of tickets have already been sold and some 15,000 volunteers are currently being recruited as plans gather pace ahead of the grand opening ceremony on July 23.

We have been building towards 2014 for more than 10 years now but it is not solely about the Commonwealth Games.

Later this year Glasgow will also host the opening concert for the 2014 Ryder Cup and the MTV European Music Awards will be held the SSE Hydro, further enhancing our position on the global stage.

A combined global television audience of more than two billion will be focused on Glasgow for these events.

We will be in the spotlight like never before, but I know Glasgow is ready to rise to the challenge.

While much of the attention will be on these truly global events, we will not be taking our eye off the ball in Glasgow.

We will continue to press ahead with our plans to help create and support business start ups in the city.

Job creation is at the heart of our economic policy and we will use the opportunities created throughout 2014 as the impetus to get people into work.

I have already set a target of 2000 new businesses in Glasgow by 2017 as well as a £1million Going Concern Loan Fund and a £500,000 Co-operative Development Fund.

Glasgow city centre is Scotland's cultural and economic hub. So I have established a team to work with businesses to make our city centre an even more pleasant place in which to live, work and visit.

So it is certainly not going to be a quiet 12 months in the city. The Year of Glasgow is here.

St Mungo Festival has become a key part of Glasgow's calendar. I will be launching the 10-day celebration of our city's founder and patron saint later this week.

The festival both looks back at Glasgow's amazing history over the 1400 years since the time of St Mungo, and forward to the city's exciting future.

St Mungo had an impact right across Britain, having founded a cathedral in Wales and with churches and schools across the north-west of England named in his honour.

But it is Glasgow that forever remains associated with his name and our coat of arms bears his image and, of course, reference to his famous miracles.

You can see a programme for the festival on the Council website and at www.peoplemakeglasgow.com/what's-on/

As ever I will end with the words of our patron saint that take on an even greater resonance for 2014: Let Glasgow Flourish!

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