UNLESS I have missed it, there would appear to have been little reaction to the provocative remarks by my old chum, actor Dougie Henshall in The Herald Magazine last Saturday. In case you missed them, the words that our production staff unsurprisingly selected for what is termed a “pull quote” on the final page of Susan Swarbrick’s interview feature read: “The Citizens Theatre in Glasgow is now some wee provincial place. It is a disgrace.”

It is nice that the star of TV’s Shetland has decided to relocate from London to the leafy west end of Glasgow, and I am delighted that the Byres Road branch of Fopp is staying open for him. Welcome back, really, honest – but there speaks a man who has been in the Big Smoke for a wee while and not paying a huge amount of attention to what has been going on at home in Scotland.

The actor is comparing his impression of the Citz now – which I think we can safely assume he has not attended much in the past five years or so – with the theatre of his teenage years, when the triumvirate of Giles Havergal, Philip Prowse and Robert David MacDonald were in charge. He’s a few years younger than myself, so I enjoyed rather more of that era than he did, and also treasure memories of magnificent productions of Schiller plays (and much more besides). If I could bring myself to throw out some of the Citz memorabilia I still have, there would be rather more room in my home. But all things must pass – although happily only MacDonald, who would have been 90 later this year, is no longer with us – and it is a gross calumny to accuse those in charge of the theatre now of a paucity of ambition, imagination, and application, which is what Henshall did in the interview.

Read more: Shetland star Douglas Henshall on the 'provincial' Citz

As I say, I have seen no evidence that anyone has been offended by his opinion, as he expressly feared they might be, but it seems worth pointing out the error of his thinking nonetheless. Yes, the Havergal/Prowse/MacDonald era was – at its peak, and at its best – something very special indeed. Some of those still working in theatre in Scotland and beyond learned their trade there, but it was also, to some extent, and crucially for its success, a place apart – until Havergal became a key voice in the clamour for a National Theatre of Scotland late in their tenure. It was not hugely surprising that it struggled a little when they departed.

But even a cursory acquaintance with the recent history of the Citz should be enough to see that under current artistic director Dominic Hill it has achieved great things, and that Hill has been clever enough to reference the great successes of the past under his illustrious predecessors as well as making sure that his venue is home to the best writing and performing talent of the present. As a director he has been a regular recipient of Scotland’s purr-fect stage gongs, the Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland, winning more often than anyone else, most recently for his staging of Zinnie Harris’s brilliant re-imagining of Aeschylus, This Restless House. That production involved both the NTS and the Edinburgh International Festival; that being the way to work in the 21st century, and Hill’s Citz is an integrated part of the Scottish artistic infrastructure.

There’s been much more than that one show, of course. My own off-the-top-of-the-head list of fine productions to have graced the Gorbals stage (prior to its recent closure for redevelopment and the company’s temporary re-location to Tramway) would find room for Glasgow Girls, The Libertine, Betrayal, Cuttin’ A Rug, Trainspotting, Into that Darkness, Slope, The Macbeths, and Endgame. Alongside those I can think of half-a-dozen I am still kicking myself that I didn’t manage to get to.

“You need somebody running a theatre who has got ambition,” said Henshall. The Citz has just that.

Read more: Shetland star Douglas Henshall on the 'provincial' Citz