Tonight at Hampden Andy Robertson and Jordi Alba will exchange pennants then attempt to put on an international football match on a ploughed field.
Watching down from afar will be Ian Maxwell, journeyman footballer turned CEO of the Scottish Football Association. Two weeks ago he told Sky Sports that the SFA is doing remarkably well.
The captains come from Liverpool and Barcelona, there will be players on the pitch from Manchester United, Barcelona and Arsenal. At those clubs they wouldn’t let primary age kids play on a pitch that cuts up so easily.
Since January the SFA, owners of Hampden have known of the issue, all four managers in the Viaplay Cup semi-finals complained about the pitch.
For the final Maxwell had a cosmetic job done on the pitch for the benefit of television cameras.
While a couldn’t care less attitude applies to Hampden, across the street Queens Park have produced a training facility good enough for the Scotland squad to train on for the full week of the international get together.
Lesser Hampden doesn’t even have a stand ready to host Championship football but a second tier club have a pitch that shames the national association that shares the same postcode.
Unless Scotland win tonight CEO Maxwell won’t be seen or heard in the media.
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We had to move from Oriam because we couldn’t get any accommodation in the hotel there but also, when you have someone like Willie Haughey (Queen’s Park backer), who wants to help the national team, him and his staff have been incredible.
That facility we have trained on this morning is amazing, but the amount of people who have done so much hard work behind the scenes is incredible considering it is Queen’s Park’s facility.
I will give you an example. The surface is Premier League standard. We haven’t had one player slip on the surface this morning.
With all due respect to Oriam, the surface was a safety hazard in my eyes. The pitch looked good on the eye. You guys were there quite often and you only saw us working in small areas.
For some reason the surface would give way. For the guys who were training on it, for me, it was a safety hazard, a health risk.
I am surprised we didn’t get any serious injuries from it, especially at the pace and tempo these guys were playing at and are playing at now.
It was a huge concern. Nearly every one of them (raised concerns) and we had to curtail training at times.
Now we have gone to this place and it is on another level. It inspires me because you can tell the way I am speaking about it. It will certainly inspire a player.
They must have got a massive boost when they walked through the door this morning and seen the facilities, the changing room and walked out to the pitch, because I did.
It is very important because you have to make progress. This team is making progress, so we have to make progress behind the scenes as well.
We have to make sure the environment when they come here from their clubs is right so we have to try and give them the best that we can and we are heading in the right direction.
Scotland’s Women’s team will play Costa Rica on April 11 before the weekend double header of Scottish Cup semi-finals at the end of the month.