NO Ladbrokes Premiership matches last weekend meant something of a change of scene and a jaunt to Edinburgh to take in the first Autumn International of the year between Scotland and Samoa at BT Murrayfield.

With no fewer than 11 tries scored - our national rugby team’s defence was every bit as porous as that of its football counterparts - an impressive sell-out crowd of 67,144 was royally entertained.

The Scottish Rugby Union, who had invited a gaggle of football-writing hacks through to the capital, could not have hand picked a better game to showcase their rather magnificent stadium.

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The SRU is on something of a charm offensive at the moment as the Scottish Football Association deliberate over whether to remain at Hampden after their current lease expires in 2020.

The eight man SFA board have until March to take up an option to extend their stay at the world-famous Mount Florida venue for another 20 years and are expected to reach a decision next month.

But there is currently unhappiness at the cost of maintaining and running a stadium which is owned by Queens Park. The suggestion that business rates are set to increase by £350,000 due to a government revaluation has done nothing to ease unhappiness.

Furthermore, there is little love for Hampden, which has been used for internationals for the past 114 years, among many football supporters. Its gently sloping stands hardly generate the most intense of atmospheres. Viewing the on-field action from certain sections of the ground can be afar from ideal.

The prospect of Scotland games as well as Betfred Cup and William Hill Scottish Cup semi-finals and finals being staged at other stadiums, as has been the practice at major footballing nations like Germany, Italy and Portugal, is a very real one. Celtic Park, Easter Road, Ibrox, Murrayfield, Pittodrie and Tynecastle could all be utilised in future.

It is to be hoped, however, the SFA see sense and decide to remain at Hampden. Leaving would, as the late, great Arthur Montford once famously wailed, be a disaster for Scotland.

Murrayfield has hosted many football matches in recent years - including Celtic’s Champions League qualifier against Legia Warsaw back in 2014- with great success and with no issues.

When asked if it would be able to cope with an Old Firm game - something that would inevitably arise - SRU chief operating officer Dominic McKay pointed to the fact that the Hearts league meeting with Rangers there last month had passed off without major incident.

“We had the largest travelling Rangers support since Manchester just a couple of weeks ago when Hearts played,” said McKay. “There were 15,000 Rangers supporters in here.”

Fair enough. But what would happen if in the region of 60,000 Celtic and Rangers fans made the 45 mile journey over the M8? It really does not bear thinking about. It would be a logistical nightmare for Police Scotland to ensure the occasion passed off without major incident. In fact, it would be nigh on impossible.

The alternative is the SPFL and SFA play Betfred Cup and William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final and final matches at Celtic Park and Ibrox respectively. But how would that work? Would they wait until they see who has made it through before deciding on the venue? Do they name them before a ball has been kicked? They risk discrediting and devaluing the national cup competitions. The whole thing seems needlessly complicated.

Hampden has, for the reasons previously mentioned, few admirers. But its limitations are exaggerated. It has been the scene of some classic matches in just the past few years.

Inverness Caledonian Thistle v Celtic two years ago, Ross County v Celtic, Rangers v Celtic and Hibernian v Rangers last year, and Celtic v Aberdeen, Scotland v England and Scotland v England this year were all magnificent occasions which will live long in the memories of anyone who was there.

Taking a Scotland game to Murrayfield or even playing a cup tie there would be a worthwhile idea and would be positive and healthy for the sport. But leaving Hampden after over a century would be enormously problematic and hugely detrimental to football in this country.