History was made on the outskirts of Edinburgh yesterday when the public were offered a sneak preview of Scotland’s new sports performance centre as it played host to an under-20 match between Hibs and Hearts.
Although the official opening is not until Monday, around 400 spectators got an early look at the £33 million facility which is called Oriam and is based at Heriot-Watt University’s Riccarton campus.
The match was staged at the centre’s indoor football arena and is thought to have been the highest grade of Scottish game not to have been played outdoors. Honours were even in a 2-2 draw, with Hearts owner Ann Budge, head coach Robbie Neilson and Hibs boss Neil Lennon in attendance.
Hibs, who have booked the Oriam complex for all under-20 home fixtures this season, twice took the lead through the impressive 17-year-old Jamie Gullan, only for Hearts to haul themselves level on both occasions. Hearts’ new Norwegian-American striker Bjorn Johnsen scored the first equaliser and teenage forward Russell McLean the second.
Oriam will be the performance base for both the Scottish Football Association and Scottish Rugby Union, as well as basketball, handball, squash and volleyball bodies. The centre is backed by £24m from the Scottish Government and £9m from its key partners – sportscotland, Heriot-Watt University and Edinburgh City Council.