21 March 2023

John Carver says Scotland’s training pitch at Oriam is ‘safety hazard’

21 March 2023

John Carver described the training pitch at Oriam as a “safety hazard” and a “health risk” after Scotland moved their base to Lesser Hampden.

Oriam is Scotland’s national performance centre for sport, based at Heriot-Watt University’s Riccarton campus in Edinburgh, and has been the base for the squad since 2016.

However, Steve Clarke and his players are preparing for the upcoming 2024 European Championship qualifiers against Cyprus and Spain at Queen’s Park’s ground, which is next door to Hampden Park and is currently being upgraded for the Championship club.

Carver, a coach under Clarke, explained the move to Lesser Hampden, saying: “We had to move from Oriam because we couldn’t get any accommodation in the hotel there but also, when you have someone like Willie Haughey (Queen’s Park backer), who wants to help the national team, him and his staff have been incredible.

“That facility we have trained on this morning is amazing, but the amount of people who have done so much hard work behind the scenes is incredible considering it is Queen’s Park’s 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 guys were there quite often and you only saw us working in small areas.

“For some reason the surface would give way. For the guys who were training on it, for me, it was a safety hazard, a health risk.

“I am 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. Nearly every one of them (raised concerns) and we had to curtail training at times.

“Now we have gone to this place and it is on another level. It inspires me because you can tell the way I am speaking about it. It will certainly inspire a player.

For the guys who were training on it, for me, it was a safety hazard, a health risk.

“They must have got a massive boost when they walked through the door this morning and seen the facilities, the changing room and walked out to the pitch, because I did.

“It is very important because you have to make progress. This team is making progress, so we have to make progress behind the scenes as well.

“We have to make sure the environment when they come here from their clubs is right so we have to try and give them the best that we can and we are heading in the right direction.”

The PA news agency has contacted Oriam for comment.

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