Had Adam Clayton been just a bit more diligent about his academic studies as a teenager, his life might have panned out somewhat differently.

But his enthusiasm for a day off school saw him compete at his first-ever athletics meet; a decision that has led him to today, when he’ll run for GB for the very first time.

His maiden GB vest is well-deserved; over the past 12 months, Clayton has become one of the fastest sprinters Scotland has ever produced and as a result, has forced his way into the reckoning for international selection.

Clayton is part of the GB team which will compete in the European Team Championships, which begins today in the Silesia region of Poland, and he is in no doubt as to the significance of this moment.

“I’ve been targeting this for a while and I definitely had moments when I felt like it was never going to happen,” the 22-year-old says.

“At youth level, there was a couple of times I thought I might get a British vest but it didn’t happen and so to get my hands on the famous GB vest has been my goal for a long time. So I’m so happy to have finally got there.”

Clayton will be accompanied on GB duty over the next three days by four of his fellow Scots; high jumper Will Grimsey along with sprinters, Brodie Young, Alyson Bell and Carys McAulay.

However, had it not been for the opportunity to bunk off school a few years ago, Clayton’s sprinting career may never have materialised.

“I played football but I wasn’t the most technical player – I was more kick it down the wing and run after it type of player,” the Glaswegian says.

“Then my pal at school mentioned to me about coming along to an athletics competition at the Emirates and I thought why not, I’ll get a day off school.

“I actually ran pretty well and it went from there; in my first year in the sport, I broke a Scottish junior record and was selected for the Commonwealth Youth Games.

“That early success meant I had the option of going to places like the Bahamas with athletics or around Scotland and England with football. So it seemed like an easy choice.”

Clayton, despite his recent achievements – earlier this year, he became Scottish indoor record holder with a time of 20.49 seconds and just last month, despite the wind-assist precluding it from the record books, he ran 10.08 seconds for the 100m, which is faster than former Olympic champion, Allan Wells ever managed – is relatively low profile, particularly outwith athletics circles.

His lack of name recognition is almost entirely down to his decision to base himself Stateside for the entirety of his adult life.

At the start of 2019, Clayton, who’s from Giffnock on the south side of Glasgow, relocated to Chicago to combine a university degree and try to further his athletics career.

However, the real transformation in his fortunes came when he

moved to Texas a couple of years ago.

The phenomenal standard of college sprinting in America is difficult for outsiders to appreciate but Clayton is in no doubt that, despite the relentlessness of the competition, it’s the only place he’d want to be.

“The level in Texas of the sprinters is shocking – it’s like another world,” he says. “There’s two guys in my team who’ve run sub-10 seconds and two who’ve run sub-20 so it’s been amazing to be in that environment..

“I was recently at the NCAA Nationals and you had to run 10.02 to make the final – it’s basically like the Olympics, it’s crazy.

“The US is definitely a place where you sink or swim. You need to learn fast or you won’t be around for long.”

Clayton’s recent improvement, along with his imminent taste of GB representation, has allowed him to broaden his horizons in terms of his ambitions.

GB’s current crop of male sprinters is an intimidating bunch – they include several Olympic and World Championship finalists – but Clayton believes he’s reached a point whereby he can now legitimately compete with the very best.

It comes, therefore, as little surprise that his goal for this summer is to target a spot in the relay squad for the World Championships in August before, next season, turning his attention to a potential Olympic appearance.

But, with these lofty targets at the forefront of his mind, he’s well aware of the potential pitfalls.

“It’s pretty crazy talking about

the World Championships being a target for me because even just a couple of years ago, it’s not something I saw myself being able

to get to,” he says.

“Sprinting’s a funny thing, though, in that the more you want it, the harder it is to get. You have to relax – it’s very counter-intuitive, but that’s how you run best.

“And if this season goes the way I’m hoping it will, the Olympics is definitely something I’d be looking to target.

“I’ve got a great team around me in America and back home and I feel like I’ve got everything I need to continue improving.”