EAST Renfrewshire athlete Neil Gourley admits he got it wrong in the 1,500m final at the European Indoor Championships.

Gourley sailed through his heat in Torun, Poland, on Thursday, securing first place in a time of 3:39:84 as he edged out Norwegian rival Jakob Ingebrigtsen.

However, he suffered disappointment in Friday night’s final after getting off to a poor start that saw him caught up in a shoving match as he jostled for position.

Gourley, a member of Giffnock North Athletics Club, eventually had to settle for 12th place, in a time of 3:45:99.

Ingebrigtsen looked to have taken the title in 3:37.56 from home favourite Marcin Lewandowski but was disqualified for stepping off the track.

That saw Lewandowski named as the winner – before a successful appeal from Norway ensured Ingebrigtsen was finally crowned European champion.

For 26-year-old Gourley, it was a case of ‘what might have been.’

He said: “It is hard racing 1,500m indoors when you don’t get it right.

“I didn’t get it right and I’m disappointed with the way I reacted. Things like that can happen off the line and there was time to recover and I didn’t.

“I worked too hard to get back to where I was but, all the same, I don’t know why I couldn’t at least challenge for a medal there. I should have been able to recover.”

Gourley insists he wasn’t taken by surprise by the way the race unfolded but was unable to respond in the way he had hoped.

“The pace was slow to begin with and then exactly what I thought would happen happened and they had to push it on,” he said.

“I needed to be there, ready for that move, and I was a good 30 metres back.”

Less than 48 hours after the disappointment of the final, Gourley tuned in for a live question-and-answer session on Zoom with members from his home town club, passing on valuable advice to those who hope to follow in his footsteps by flying the flag for East Renfrewshire on the big stage.

He told athletes: “The hours around training make the difference. Yes, apply yourself in training but where you will see improvements is everything that happens off the track.

“Eat well, sleep well. This will set you apart.”

Gourley will now focus on his efforts to make sure he is included in Team GB for the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, this summer.