Lochend bantamweight boxer Matty McHale has learned to love his Commonwealth bronze
Boxing bronze medallist Matty McHale admits he has grown fonder of the colour he picked up in Birmingham a fortnight ago.
A split-decision defeat to Northern Ireland's Dylan James Eagleson in the 54kg Commonwealth Games semi-finals was a hard one to stomach admitted the 26-year-old.
However, having taken the time to reflect on his achievements south of the border, McHale's overriding emotion is now one of pride. The Scottish boxing team also delivered its highest total for 36 years with three golds and two bronzes.
"Everybody wants to get gold so I'm not going to lie and say otherwise," Lochend prodigy McHale told the Evening News. "And even after I won bronze people were still saying how amazing it was, but you don't look at it that way.
"That said, since I've been home and had time to think about things, I can now really see what a great achievement it is. I'm proud of myself. All the hard work paid off and to be fair, the semi-final was as close as they come so on another day, I could have got the decision. I did everything in my power to get the win so I wouldn't change a thing.
"To be part of the most successful Scottish boxing team is just incredible. And even the ones that didn't medal to see how they performed, we were all there for each other. We're all one big team.
"It was great to have Josh Taylor down supporting, but he wasn't just there for me. He's still looking out for the amateurs so to have a former undisputed world champion sitting ringside and supporting us at a Commonwealth Games was a real nice touch. Having my coach Terry McCormack there was special too.
"The whole experience in Birmingham was just amazing. I loved everything about it. I tried to take it all in because it's over in a flash before you know it. It's something I will always treasure and a once in a lifetime opportunity."
McHale, who works full-time with Edinburgh-based Trades Trading School, is now weighing up his next move in the boxing ring.
"I need to sit down and have a chat with Terry, but I've done everything I can as an amateur now apart from the Olympics," McHale explained. "They've removed 54kg from Olympic boxing now so I'd have to go to 57kg if I wanted to be in with a shout of Paris in two years. I'm not 100 per cent sure what I'll do but I am open to all options.
"Throughout my amateur career the support I have has been phenomenal. I'm just enjoying being able to let my hair down and gorge on whatever I want and not have to worry trying to make 54kg. I'm now back to work and they have been so good with me as well after giving me time off. My boss Antony and the team even came down to watch me too so they're one in a million.
"I really want to turn professional and have a crack there. I'll also need to speak with everyone at Boxing Scotland too because they have been so good to me and the last thing I want to do is hang them out to dry."