A pre-Hogmanay trend that has emerged over the past few years has been to brand the previous twelve months the ‘year of women’s sport’. It began in 2012, when the London Olympics saw Jessica Ennis, Katherine Grainger and Nicola Adams labelled as the game-changers who would transform the media landscape and finally see women’s sport and female athletes receive the credit they deserve for their exploits.

There have been similar claims in the intervening years including 2017 as it drew to a close and this is, of course, music to my ears. I have long been a champion for increased media coverage of women’s sport and greater recognition of female athletes and I would be delighted to see the stats improve which are still dire; the latest figures show that only 7 percent of media coverage of sport is of women’s sport and less than one percent of sports sponsorship goes into women’s sport.

There are few who would dispute that these figures are unacceptably low but what concerns me is the assumption that one good year of sport from female athletes will suddenly change everything. Instead, we need to aim for slow but steady improvements year on year. Attitudes will not change overnight but there are encouraging signs and small but not insignificant improvements are happening.

Yet the disparity remains huge, something that was highlighted by the voting at BBC Sports Personality of the Year a few weeks ago. Of the twelve nominees, four were female yet the sportswomen filled the bottom four positions. The women’s lack of votes says far more about their low profile than it does about their sporting achievements.

While it may sound somewhat pessimistic to suggest that change will be gradual, it is actually the best way for it to happen. The problem with one stand-out year in terms of women’s sport, as happened in 2012, is that covering female athletes becomes more like a fad than any kind of permanent change in mentality.

2017 continued the gradual closing of the gap between men’s and women’s sport in Scotland – the women’s national football team reaching its first-ever major championships was a huge step forward, Laura Muir was arguably the highest-profile Scottish athlete outside of the usual suspects of football, rugby and Andy Murray and Sammi Kinghorn was crowned 'Sportsperson of the Year'.

2018 gives me more cause for optimism. The Commonwealth Games promises much in terms of raising the profile of women’s sport once again. Hannah Miley has the potential to make history by becoming the first Scot to win gold in the same event at three consecutive Commonwealth Games, while the athletics team includes Scotland’s most decorated track and field athlete ever, Eilidh Doyle. And there is a raft of further potential medal-winning females including Katie Archibald, Grace Reid, the McIntosh sisters and the women’s hockey team.

Before the Commonwealth Games kick off, the Winter Olympics will see Elise Christie attempt to win her maiden Olympic medal following her 2014 nightmare when she was disqualified from all three of her events – and I predict she will come home with more than one piece of silverware – while Eve Muirhead and her rink will be aiming to improve on their curling bronze that they won in 2014.

The women’s national football team continues to improve at an excitingly fast rate and with the ever-impressive Shelley Kerr at the helm, it seems unfathomable that their progress over the next twelve months will not be expedited even further.

UWS Sirens netball team have learnt from the experience of their maiden season and with Glasgow 2018 coming to these shores, there will be further interest in sports that often struggle to wrestle the limelight from the ever-dominant men’s football.

So while progress in terms of raising the profile of and the investment in women’s sport, at times, appears to be negligible, we should not be discouraged. If change happens too fast, it is likely it won’t stick. Instead, we should be heartened by the incremental improvements that are undoubtedly happening. 2018 will be another good year for women’s sport – and while it won’t solve all the problems, it will take us another baby step forward.