A home for performance. A key part of the SFA’s performance strategy. An inspirational environment for up-and-coming footballers. The jewel in the crown. A safety hazard.

These are all terms that have been used to describe Oriam, the National Sports Performance Centre. One, a little more recent than the others.

The rather more complimentary descriptions were mostly uttered back in late 2016 by then SFA chief executive Stewart Regan upon the opening of the £33m facility on the Heriot-Watt University Campus in Edinburgh. The ‘jewel in the crown’ moniker was assigned by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, no less, whose government ponied up a significant amount of that dough via the public purse.

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The last – cutting - remark was made by Scotland men’s team assistant manager John Carver on Tuesday, when he attempted to explain the reasoning behind head coach Steve Clarke’s call to up sticks and shift the national team’s training base across the M8 to Glasgow for the March and June international windows.

READ MORE: Scotland training base switch reason revealed amid Oriam 'health risk'

The move to Lesser Hampden, Carver said, had been at least partly motivated by the quality of the surface that has been installed at no little expense by Queen’s Park during their redevelopment of the ground. Financed partly by Lord Willie Haughey, himself a huge advocate of Hampden as the spiritual home of the Scotland team, half a million quid or so has been spent laying a state-of-the-art surface in the shadow of the national stadium.

In contrast, Carver claimed that the training pitches at Oriam were all style and no substance, looking good to the naked eye but giving way under the feet of the players, and thus representing a risk to their health.

If this is indeed the case, it makes the decision hugely understandable. These are elite level players, some of whom are on contracts worth many millions of pounds. The last thing the SFA wants is to have Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester United or Aston Villa on their case following a serious injury to one of their prize assets caused by a dodgy training pitch.

More pertinently though, the SFA – and Steve Clarke in particular – do not want players coming from those elite clubs into an environment that represents anything less than the highest standard they are accustomed to. And while that includes the standard of the surface they train on, it extends way beyond that, too.

What has been lost a little is that - believe it or not - the hotel at Oriam didn’t actually have enough vacant rooms to accommodate the national team for either this window or the next in the first place. A bizarre oversight when the base was trumpeted as the home of our elite sports teams above all else.

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In truth, it would be fair to say that perhaps the men’s national team have never quite fully felt at home there. While some grievances, such as the plethora of rugby images that are plastered all over the hotel, may seem petty from the outside, others – such as a lack of privacy for the players – are more serious.

The media facilities at Oriam, from personal experience, aren’t fit for purpose. Players are interviewed at tables adjacent to the hotel reception area, with members of the public milling around, often enjoying a coffee and chatting loudly within earshot. As is their right, of course, but players being routinely stopped for selfies during their downtime – as unfailingly polite and accommodating as they are - does not a relaxed atmosphere make.

The success of Scotland under Clarke has been built not only on creating a club-like atmosphere behind the scenes, but an elite level club mentality. That has been key in achieving results, and also in persuading players to not only show up for international duty, but to commit to the national team in the first place.

If Scotland were still training on a ploughed field adjacent to Mar Hall, as they were as recently as the Gordon Strachan era, would the likes of Angus Gunn been persuaded to jump the dyke and commit their future to the country? It is doubtful. And it is understood that Clarke is hopeful of convincing a few others who have international options to join his project on the back of the standards he has introduced.

Ironically, the facilities at Oriam – designed to provide an elite environment to the best Scottish athletes across the board – may be the thing that forces the men’s national team away from the base for good if they cannot salve Clarke’s concerns.

The training pitches have, we are told, been upgraded since the Scotland team last visited some six months ago. And as it stands, the plan is for Scotland to return to Oriam for their September camp, but Clarke’s chance to explore other options in the next two windows may make his displeasure with aspects of the facility all the harder to stomach when the time comes to return.

For the long-term benefit of both the national team and in the interest of getting full value for the public’s money, is it in the national interest for the football team’s needs to be accommodated at Oriam.

Presuming they can be accommodated in the hotel, of course.