BT Murrayfield ‘could replace Hampden’

Murrayfield has already hosted football matches involving Celtic and Hearts. Pic: Malcolm McCurrach

Murrayfield has already hosted football matches involving Celtic and Hearts. Pic: Malcolm McCurrach

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MURRAYFIELD would be a fitting home for Scottish football if the sport’s bosses decide to move away from Hampden.

That’s the view of sporting legends and politicians across the Capital after the Scottish Rugby Union said it would open the door to the round-ball game.

Scottish Football Association bosses are weighing up plans to quit the national stadium in Glasgow when their lease expires in 2020.

Hampden could be fully revamped or left behind for good as the home ground of the national team and venue for cup finals and semi-finals.

The Scottish Rugby Union is keen to explore ways to slash its £11 million debt – and with 67,000 seats at Murrayfield, 15,000 more fans could be accommodated than currently cram into Hampden for big matches.

SRU chief executive Mark Dodson said: “We haven’t had any official conversations with the SFA, but clearly if there is a desire from them to come and play at Murrayfield then we would happily listen to whatever proposal they put forward.

“Something like Murrayfield is such an expensive building to maintain so to have it empty is not what you want.

“So we’re always thinking of ways to improve the Murrayfield estate so it becomes a

better and more viable financial option for us.”

Scottish rugby legend Scott Hastings said he was keen to hear turnstiles clicking at the stadium more often. “The more use we can get out of Murrayfield the better,” he said.

And council events champion Councillor Steve Cardownie, a Hearts season-ticket holder, said he believed the Tartan Army would enjoy Scotland games at Murrayfield more than Hampden.

He said: “Murrayfield is a better stadium than Hampden anyway. It is better for spectators, better equipped and is readily accessible.

“If they are serious about looking at all the options, it would be regrettable if they didn’t look at Murrayfield.”

Murrayfield has hosted top-level football in recent years, with Celtic playing Champions League qualifiers last summer, following a precedent set by Hearts in 2004 and 2006.

A permanent switch for the SFA to Edinburgh would not be universally welcomed by the Tartan Army, according to spokesman Hamish Husband, although he believes it would be fitting for certain matches.

He said: “We welcome the invitation. However, it is to the international shame of the SFA that the largest stadium in Scotland belongs to rugby.

“Murrayfield holds 67,000, Celtic Park 60,000 and Hampden 52,000 so if a big game comes up, why not use Murrayfield? But the rent goes to rugby and I think the revenue generated by any football games played there should go back into football.”