McMillan wins gold with Scotland at European Championships in Estonia

Le Gruy�re AOP Curling Championships 2018,  Tallinn, Estonia (pic: Richard Gray)
Le Gruy�re AOP Curling Championships 2018, Tallinn, Estonia (pic: Richard Gray)

Stranraer’s Hammy McMillan was lost for words after winning gold at the European Curling Championships in Estonia, Talinn last weekend.

McMillan (26) helped Scotland, skippered by Bruce Mouat, to a 9-5 victory over four-time defending champions Sweden to clinch the team’s first European Championship – the country’s first men’s European title since David Murdoch’s team won it in 2008.

The quartet of Mouat, McMillan, Bobby Lammie and Grant Hardie – McMillan’s cousin, did it the hard way coming from behind at the halfway stage 4-2, before taking a 6-5 lead in the final and winning three on the last end to exact revenge on Niklas Edin’s side for their defeat earlier on in the week.

Joining the celebrations were unused fifth player Ross Whyte plus coaches Alan Hannah and David Murdoch.

After the victory, McMillan, a curling development officer with Active Stirling, said: “It’s a feeling that you can’t really describe, it’s an overwhelming feeling to go out there with your best mates and win the gold.

“We had played Sweden in the round robin and lost but we felt we could have beat them, so it was great to get another chance.

“We knew it was going to be tough because they were four-time champions.

“When you are younger you dream of having your name on the back of a Scotland top so it doesn’t get much better.

“It’s the biggest moment in my curling career.”

The team have been together for little more than 18 months and have enjoyed a meteoric rise in the sport. They made history in 2017 when they became the first British and Scottish men’s team to win a grand slam title – the Grand Slam of Curling Boost National in Ontario last November, securing successive wins in Canada.

They won the Scottish Championships - beating the Team GB representatives at this year’s Olympics, Team Smith, – in a first ever play-off to decide who would represent Scotland at the World Championships, with Mouat’s team returning with a bronze from the Las Vegas event.

McMillan jnr, son of five-time world champion Hammy McMillan, said: “We’ve been together about 18 months playing, my cousin Grant Hardie is also in the team.

“What’s been the key to success? It’s about team dynamics we are such a close knit group. Last year was our breakthrough season. We won a couple of events, we won the Scottish Championships and we had to beat team GB, and we won bronze so it was a fantastic year. My dad is a five-time world champion and he was so proud and it is good having him there as he drops hints and tips.”

Next up for McMillan and the team is the second leg of the new curling World Cup event.

They travel to Omaha this weekend and McMillan also has sights set on helping the team retain their Scottish Championship crown in 
February.