AS THE biggest venue in the country, Murrayfield (capacity a little over 67,000) was never a natural fit for Edinburgh Rugby (usual attendance well under 10 per cent of that figure). In that respect at least, Edinburgh are surely glad to have seen the back of the national stadium and to be preparing in earnest at last for the move to Myreside, even if they would rather have gone out on a higher note than Monday’s 1872 Cup defeat by Glasgow Warriors.

But Myreside, while making sense in terms of being a better fit, brings its own challenges with it, and there is certainly no guarantee that the switch - due to begin with the Challenge Cup match against Timisoara Saracens next month - will be a success. For a start, there is the unavoidable difference of location within the capital.

There is not too much difference in distance from each ground to the middle of the city - about two and a half miles from Myreside to Princes Street, just under two from Murrayfield - but there is no denying the fact that the latter feels a lot more central. That is partly because it is the headquarters of the sport’s governing body, but also because it is in a more built-up part of town, on the tram route and within easy walking distance of Haymarket station.

In other words, being tucked away in a leafy suburb will mean that Edinburgh have to work harder to be noticed. Their status at Murrayfield made a clear statement that they were the main team in the capital: now they will be playing at just one of the town’s many club grounds, with little to distinguish it from others that are capable of taking crowds of five or six thousand.

There is another issue of perception, of course, namely the fact that the team will now be playing at a site owned by a private school. There was always a feeling at Murrayfield that Edinburgh were no more than tenants, without a real settled home of their own, and that feeling can only persist, if not actually become stronger, at Watsonians’ ground.

Myreside will no doubt be dressed up for each home game in a bid to make it feel like a home for Edinburgh, and that may well result in a very convivial atmosphere for people who are already used to attending the team’s matches. But, as has been pointed out regularly ever since the move was mooted, the fact remains that in many other quarters rugby continues to be seen as an elitist sport. And a team which claims to represent the whole city playing its home games at George Watson’s College does nothing to address that view positively.

Speaking of that perception, prejudices about the nature of the sport can only have been strengthened by a little pre-match incident at Murrayfield on Boxing Day. The PA announcer was out on the pitch asking kids what they got for Christmas. A Nerf gun, said one. A quad bike, said another. A horse, said a third.

Now there are parts of the world where horse ownership is neither uncommon nor a sign of affluence, but you can bet your Christmas bonus that if you asked the same question to all the kids before a match at Tynecastle or Easter Road, they would have come up with answers reflecting their families’ more modest finances. It’s that problem of perception again, and the feeling that many folk have that rugby is not for them, even if they actually quite like watching it now and then on television.

Still, given the capacity of their new home, Edinburgh will be able to fill it without doing too much outreach work in the less well-heeled parts of town - provided, at least, that they start winning games. Which is where we come to the crucial element of the move.

The ideal would have been for the team’s results to have improved markedly by now, and for a top-six finish to have become a realistic prospect. Instead, while they have been playing a more open and attractive style of rugby under acting head coach Duncan Hodge, they are 10th in the PRO12 and will surely need an improbably speedy improvement if they are to break into the upper half of the table and claim a place in next season’s Champions Cup.

Finally, perhaps the largest and most stubborn perception to overcome - and this is one from within the rugby community rather than the unconverted - is the feeling that Edinburgh as a team have never found a purpose in life. When European competition began 20 years ago they played their home games at Myreside, so the return there only highlights the lack of progress made in the interim. The obvious contrast there is with Glasgow, who now have a long-term home of their own at Scotstoun, a strong identity, the ability to attract supporters from outwith the usual narrow rugby constituency, and above all success on the field.

Many of us are looking forward to the move to Myreside, but at the moment only for the reason that it is not Murrayfield. Over the coming months Edinburgh’s supporters will need more positive grounds for welcoming the change of venue.