Scotland have moved national team training to Lesser Hampden from Oriam ahead of the Euro 2024 qualifiers against Cyprus and Spain.

The national team have regularly operated from the £33m Riccarton base in Edinburgh in recent years, but "safety concerns" over the pitches at Oriam were raised this week.

Scotland assistant John Carver revealed his fears over player safety when discussing the training base switch this week.

"With all due respect to Oriam, it was a safety hazard in my eyes," he said. "It looked good on the eye, you guys were there quite often and you only saw us working in small areas.

"But for some reason, the surface would just give way, so for the guys playing on it, it was a health risk.

"I'm surprised we didn't get any serious injuries from it, especially with the pace and the tempo that these guys were playing at and are playing at now. It was a huge concern.

"We were having to curtail the training sometimes. They're very competitive and we were having to say 'take it easy.' Certain sessions you did, like defending, were very very difficult."

READ MORE: Hampden boss Steve Clarke pens Scotland contract extension until 2026

The damning criticism comes despite reports of long-term guarantees over backing of the facility by the Scottish FA.

However, Carver's comments have raised questions over the suitability of Edinburgh's Oriam facility for the Scotland national team - with home matches played at Hampden in Glasgow.

Carver was highly complimentary of the Lesser Hampden facilities after the temporary switch as he saluted the "football environment" when compared with the "rugby environment" he experienced at Oriam.

He said: “It’s a magnificent facility. The branding is nice. It feels like a football environment. At Oriam it felt like a rugby environment with us being tenants there.

“It feels like a proper football environment so the guys were very vocal last night, the atmosphere was great."

Here, we delve into the saga between the Scotland national team and the Oriam sports complex...

What's the issue? 

The main issue ahead of the Scotland training camp for the upcoming Euro 2024 qualifiers was that the national team couldn't secure accommodation at the hotel located next to the Oriam facility.

Carver confirmed that the national team couldn't book enough rooms for the squad and backroom staff with that the driving factor behind the late switch to Glasgow.

“We had to move from Oriam because we couldn’t get any accommodation in the hotel there.." he said, with the hotel unable to facilitate the Scotland squad for this or the next camp.

However, undoubtedly, another key factor in the move was the concerns held by players and coaching staff over the playing surface at the Oriam complex.

Carver insisted players had all raised concerns over safety during training with grass giving way and sessions sometimes halted over injury fears.

Further to the pitch and accommodation concerns, it's perhaps just as important that the players feel comfortable in the surroundings - something Carver's comments suggest is not the case with the perceived rugby leaning at the complex.

Throw into the mix that the Oriam facility is, rightly, open for public use and there could feasibly be worries over privacy and preparation at the Edinburgh base over previous locations.

Earlier this week a report from the Daily Record claimed Gordon Strachan was removed from his position as national team boss over "pure politics" and his refusal to move the Scotland training camps to the Oriam.

Strachan had used Mar Hall, in Bishopton, as the base for Scotland meet-ups with the players afforded privacy during preparation and a short journey to Hampden on matchdays.

It's thought the current situation - when training at Oriam - is that the national team travel to Glasgow on the evening before matches to ensure no traffic troubles before kick-off.

Issues still remained in the times training at Mar Hall, however, with the ploughed field playing surface less than optimal.

The long-term issue now remains over where or how the Oriam complex - funded largely by the Scottish Government - fits into the Scottish football team plans.

With the national team set to train away from the base this camp and next, the issues could fester or linger unless a concrete decision is made.

READ MORE: Scotland assistant unconcerned by Lesser Hampden tenement spies

Isn't it state-of-the-art? 

Oriam is heralded as Scotland's sports performance centre - and to its credit, there are facilities for a host of sports training. 

A cursory glance at the Oriam website will tell you there are five grass football pitches, two grass rugby pitches and a host of synthetic surfaces - each designed with for specific purposes including designated goalkeeper training and scrum areas.

The facility also offers use of two sports halls - one with the option of a 300-seat portable bleacher. Oriam boasts a "state-of-the-art technogym fitness suite and refurbished strength suite" and a "performance wing" for squad training programmes.

The Oriam Clinic is also based at the sports complex with hydrotherapy, physiotherapy, massage and rehabilitation support among the services offered.

The problem, however, remains that Carver's comments suggest a notable difference in the grass pitches and the general atmosphere at Oriam and Lesser Hampden.

Few would argue that Oriam offers a more rounded and multi-sports complex as was the plan, but Carver's remarks appear to suggest the sole focus of Lesser Hampden on nailing footballing aspects may have made a difference.

How much did it cost? 

Plans for the Oriam complex were first sparked into life after a review of Scottish football in 2010 detailed a lack of facilities in the country.

Following the report - led by former First Minister Henry McLeish - a £25m Scottish Government Young Scots Fund was set aside in 2012 to put towards a multi-sports centre including a football academy.

Universities, colleges and local authorities were invited to bid to join the project. In 2013 a design by Reiach & Hall was chosen for the facility with £9m of further funding to build the complex coming from sportscotland, Heriot-Watt University and the City of Edinburgh Council.

Construction work on the facility began in March 2015 before the £33m complex was opened in August the following year.

READ MORE: Steve Clarke vows to keep fans ‘entertained’ after signing new deal

What have Hearts said about Oriam facility? 

Hearts hold a lease at Oriam until 2029 and it's thought the club are happy with the training facility despite the recent criticism.

The Edinburgh club do not hold similar reservations over the pitches at the Oriam sports complex - however, they do train on pitches in a different area of the base.

Edinburgh Evening News report that the national team work on Pitch 1, while Hearts train on pitches elsewhere at Oriam - with club chiefs having no issues with the current Oriam set-up.

What about sportscotland? 

The national agency for sport, sportscotland, was a key contributor to the building of the facility back in 2015.

The agency continues to work in partnership with Oriam and hailed the "world-class facilities and support services" offered to Scotland's top athletes at the sporting hub.

A spokesperson from sportscotland commented: “Oriam provides Scotland’s top athletes, across a range of sports, with the world-class facilities and support services they need to deliver on the international stage, as well as extensive community access.

“We continue to work in partnership with Oriam to build on the success of the centre in creating a performance environment to inspire future generations to aim for sporting excellence.”

A spokesperson went on to state that any discussion between Oriam and the Scotland national team is a matter for the Scottish FA.

Has Oriam responded over the saga? 

Oriam executive director Ross Campbell has responded to recent criticism of the facility as he defended the Riccarton centre as "world-class".

He went on to cite an "independent assessment" of the grass pitches in response to Carver's "safety hazard" remarks.

However, Campbell also outlined the Scottish FA as a "valued partner" before insisting all at Oriam look forward to welcoming the national teams back to the facility.

His statement read in full: “The world-class facilities provided by Oriam are suitable for elite-level athletes and we are proud to host our professional clubs and teams who choose to train with us.  Our facilities adhere to the highest health and safety standards and the welfare of everyone at Oriam is of paramount importance.

READ MORE: 'Coach on the pitch' - Scotland No2 lauds McGregor on eve of 50th cap

“We are privileged to be at the heart of Scotland’s sporting ambitions and remain dedicated to nurturing the next generation of sports stars while benefitting our local community.

“The recent criticism of one of our grass pitches is disappointing and does not reflect the independent assessment of the pitch. Further, our dedicated team work incredibly hard to maintain the best possible training environment.

“The Scottish FA is a valued partner and we are delighted to have played our part in their recent qualification successes. We look forward to welcoming the men’s and women’s national teams back to Oriam in the future.”