It's been a memorable year for our great Scots

IF 2013 has taught us anything it's that most of us are so passionate and proud of our fellow countrymen and women - in fact, you could almost say that when it comes to Scots doing well, we offer patriotic support in Braveheart proportions.

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Nicholas McDonald has become a star
Nicholas McDonald has become a star

Between Andy Murray lifting the Men's Singles trophy at Wimbledon, Alex Ferguson's goodbye after 26 years' management at Manchester United and Emeli Sande having the biggest-selling album of the year so far, 2013 has been a phenomenal one for Scottish stars.

I, of course, know only too well how fantastically supportive the people of this country are, for exactly 10 years ago this very year millions of them were picking up the phone to vote for me to win Pop Idol back in 2003.

I was a 23-year-old girl slightly terrified of how my ordinary wee life in Glasgow had exploded on a national level overnight to the point that I couldn't even walk down the street without photographers chasing me and people screaming my name trying to get my autograph.

During the 12 weeks of live shows I was in the newspapers everyday and it seemed every columnist, radio and TV presenter had an opinion on me, even though I had never met the majority of them before in my life.

When I think back to that time and how scared my 23-year-old self was, I kind of wish I could go back there with all of my life experiences of the past 10 years and reassure that wee girl that everything would be alright and try to prepare her for the roller coaster that lay ahead.

That's why when I look at young Nicholas McDonald in this year's X Factor it brings back so many memories for me.

He's made it into the final of one of the biggest talent franchises in the world and by the looks of things, Scotland is once more behind their own.

IFIRST heard Nicholas sing many years ago at a function I attended with his mum Eileen and I remember then being blown away by this little boy with the huge voice.

For me it was kind of inevitable even back then that he would one day be a professional singer on some level and at the age of 16 he looks well on his way to making that an absolute reality.

Lots of different media outlets have been contacting me over the past week or so asking if I could offer any advice to Nicholas having gone through it all before myself and I've politely declined.

You see, I had my moment all of those years ago and as a result I have had the most incredible 10 years of my life and thank my lucky stars everyday that I still get to do what I love for a living, but it's Nicholas' time now.

He has sung his heart out over the past few weeks and has an army of followers who are now his biggest fans and I simply couldn't be happier for him.

X Factor is a completely different animal now compared with Pop Idol back in the day but I'm sure the feelings and emotions brought on by being in the final are exactly the same.

Go out there Nicholas and give it everything you've got on Saturday night.

Take in everything around you and enjoy every minute of it.

You've got the country behind you and trust me, that's something you will spend the rest or your life being so grateful for because if you experience even a 10th of the happiness being in a national talent show and having the support of Scotland behind you has brought me over the last decade, then you, my boy, are in for the time of your life.

l Happy Birthday to my darling little sister Lynsey who turns the ripe old age of 32 tomorrow. Hope you have a great day and get spoiled rotten!

Arts and Entertainment

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