Aidan Smith: So the new Edinburgh Rugby stadium has pillars. At least there isn’t a pointless running track

The first thing that should be said about the new Edinburgh rugby stadium is that no one has been inside it, far less watched a game there, so we cannot speak with authority about its ambience.

Edinburgh's new rugby stadium in the shadow of big brother Murrayfield waits for crowds to be allowed back to stage its first game

See what I did there? Used a word like ambience. When it comes to stadia we’re all architecture students - it’s a seven-year course, not for the weak-willed - and aesthetes. So, even without first-hand experience, the debate has begun …

What’s with the pillars? Blimey, you don’t get much for £5.7 million. Looks temporary. Looks like a train station. How come we’re still having pillars in 2021? Ideal for rugby with the restricted views.

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The last came from a football fan, possibly forgetting that Archibald Leitch (1865-1939) hasn’t designed a grandstand for a while. Possibly forgetting, too, that some football clubs have stands not dissimilar to the structures in the shadow of Murrayfield; that some football clubs have no stands at either end; that some have parked incongruous double-deck buses there.

At first glance it reminds me of Clyde’s old home Shawfield where I saw Hibs lose twice, former favourite Joe McBride doing his old club down in teeming rain in 1971. Then in ’74 on a beautifully sunny May evening another Joe - Harper - rescued a point.

The most obvious and important difference is that the Edinburgh ground doesn’t have a track round it so the supporters, when they’re eventually allowed back, will be close to the pitch.

Briefly I wondered if the stadium would be stuck with lanes for sprinting down one side, for no other reason than big brother Murrayfield has them, but thankfully such idiocy has been avoided.

Who’s seen these lanes being used, like ever? Not me. They spoil the - that word again - aesthetics of Murrayfield so I’m glad the new ground hasn’t followed suit.

The atmosphere upgrade should be massive. When Edinburgh games have been played at the national stadium fans have rattled around like peas in a drum, or edamame beans. Plus, within the 7,800 capacity of the new facility there’s room for 2,000 safe-standing supporters.

Retro footage of old Murrayfield when it was full looks wonderful because most of the crowd are crammed onto terraces. It’ll be up to Edinburgh to be entertaining enough to pack the place out but having a home to call their own at last will hopefully encourage this after all these seasons of flitting around the capital.

The pillars? I guess they’re down to cost. The new Edinburgh Accies stand, which doesn’t have pillars, looks a more expensive construction. But there’s just the one stand over at Raeburn Place; this has four.

I grew up watching sport behind pillars, and having Archie Macpherson and Arthur Montford tell me what had happened when the action on TV disappeared behind them. To the snowflakes who’re moaning, I say: deal with it. Anyway. you’ll probably get a price reduction for restricted view - you guys never seem to want for anything while we counted ourselves lucky just to have a roof. (And, yes, like Monty Python’s Graham Chapman, we got evicted from our hole in the ground as well).

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