Scotland move training base to Lesser Hampden as John Carver labels Oriam facilities as a ‘safety hazard’
The former Newcastle United coach was full of praise for Lesser Hampden’s newly upgraded facilities.
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Scotland coach John Carver has described the national team’s regular training pitch at Oriam as a “safety hazard” and a “health risk” after the squad moved their base to Lesser Hampden.
Oriam - the country’s national performance centre for sport based at Heriot-Watt University’s Riccarton campus on the outskirts of Edinburgh - is used frequently by Scottish Premiership side Hearts and the Scotland rugby team. It has been the main base for the squad since 2016.
However, Steve Clarke had earlier raised an issue with accomodation at Oriam and his players are now preparing for their opening 2024 European Championship qualifiers against Cyprus and Spain at Queen’s Park’s newly-developed ground, which is located next to Hampden Park and is currently being upgraded for the Championship leaders.
Carver praised the “Premier League standard” of pitch they are using at Lesser Hampden this week, while also criticising the surface at their former base.
He admitted: “That facility we have trained on this morning (Monday) is amazing but the amount of people who have done so much hard work behind the scenes in incredible considering it is Queen’s Park facility.
“I will give you an example. The surface is Premier League standard. We haven’t had one player slip on the surface this morning. With all due respect to Oriam, the surface was a safety hazard in my eyes. The pitch looked good on the eye. You will have seem us working there in small areas.
“For some reason the surface would just give way. For the guys who were training on it, for me, it was a safety hazard, a health risk. I’m surprised we didn’t get any serious injuries from it, especially at the pace and tempo these guys were playing at and are playing at now. It was a huge concern.
“Asked if players had raised concerns about the Oriam surface, Carver replied: “Yes, nearly every one of them. We were having to curtail training sometimes as they are very competititive. We were having to say ‘just take it easy’ you know.”
The former Newcastle United coach reckons the facilities at Lesser Hampden will also provide a boost to the players ahead of their games against Cyprus on Saturday and Spain on Tuesday.
Carver added: “This place is on another level. It inspires me. It will certainly inspire a player. They must have got a massive boost when they walked through the door this morning and saw the facilities, the changing room and walked out to the pitch, because I did.”