The rough blueprint that tempted Miguel Angel Ortega Marco to pursue an adventure in a new land is undergoing constant revision. The head coach of the freshly-established Caledonia Gladiators was handed a blank sheet upon his arrival from Spain and has stacked the Women’s British Basketball League’s new entrant with signings from near and afar.

His team will make its formal debut this evening as their inaugural season begins. Newcastle Eagles will visit Paisley’s Lagoon Centre, planned merely as a temporary abode. By 2024, it is intended that a Scottish super-club that also includes the men’s BBL side formerly known as Glasgow Rocks will move into a 6,500-seater arena in East Kilbride which will double as an incubator for youth programmes and talent development.

An ambitious scheme of genuine scale, bankrolled by tech millionaire Steve Timoney and his wife Alison who have long-standing ties to the Gladiators’ former incarnation as a grassroots cauldron in Cumbernauld. Ortega, who took Spain’s most successful team Avenida to its national title, lends instant credibility. In return, the intrigue came from a rejuvenation of sorts: to go boldly where no one had gone before.

“I am 60 years old,” he declared. “I was looking for new motivation and new challenges. I knew people from Basketball Scotland and the Gladiators. And I liked that everything is new: a new club with new ambitions.

“Steve is a person who brings very good leadership, who has pulled together a very ambitious project – to create a team from nothing, to ensure the players get better and better, to look to change or improve basketball in Scotland which is important for young girls too.

Ball in Miguel Marco’s court for the future of Scottish basketballMiguel Angel Ortega Marco

“They’re making this big commitment. The level is huge among everyone involved at the club. So I’m really passionate about making this club better, getting that collaboration between everybody: owners, coaches, players, everyone.”

He comes with insights from the best basketball nation on the planet not named US of A. Last Sunday in Berlin, Spain’s men added the European title to the world one they claimed in 2019, ahead of the Americans. Their females have won three of the last five Euros with countless exports to the NBA and WNBA.

British basketball could learn much from their accomplishments and avowed purpose. “The secret in Spain in that there is a unified programme within basketball, a single passion, a single methodology,” Ortega outlines.

“Basketball is important because we have a lot of good coaches, young and old. But I think the most important thing is you create your own basketball. Maybe you copy little details. But you need your own ideas. Why are we different? This was the key in Spain. We respect everybody, we take little details from elsewhere. But copying everyone is not the solution.”

Yet the Gladiators goal of developing stars of the future will hinge on mining best practice. They have imported an encyclopaedia for good reason. “To improve your game, the level of intensity, the activity, is very important,” he adds. “But sometimes it’s very difficult to create these habits one when you’re older.

“In Spain, the mini-basket is very important, where boys and girls are playing that at 8-10 years old at a very good level. So when they arrive at 14, 16, 18, they’ve been playing at that level for a long time. And it’s developed their basketball brain.”

Now in its eighth season, the WBBL was created to be top of the domestic pathway, a female counterpart to the longer-established BBL. There remains a disparity between the two leagues, enlarged even, since a £7million investment from American financiers into the BBL.

Enter, in addition, the likes of Timoney, with deep enough pockets to compete on budgets and a sense of the long-term growth game in play. There have been minor mis-steps in this bold journey, not least a supporter backlash against erasing the history of the Rocks name in favour of a single brand. The BBL, which also starts tonight, has attempted to whip up a frenzy with a campaign entitled ‘Know Our Name’. The irony, in Glaswegian circles, has not been lost. Even so, the two sides are better able to contend for silverware than their forebearers.

And challenge, we must, Ortega acknowledges. “We have different main goals but winning is very important in our project. Because we need to build fans and create fanatics.

“You look at London Lions and other teams who are five, six, seven steps ahead. But this is basketball. We are ambitious. One year is a long time. We will grow. I will bring my passion, my energy. We will respect everybody but fear nobody.”