ROSS Campbell watched Finn Russell escape from the inclement weather conditions one morning to practice his goalkicking beneath Oriam’s sleek contoured roof. He then cheered on from in front of his television screen as the Scotland fly half’s nerveless conversion led to a 24-19 win against Australia this summer. Now the chief executive of the state-of-the-art Scottish performance centre, which has been fully operational for a year, feels it is high time that Scottish football too allowed their brand new facility to help them beat the best the world has to offer. After a taster of the complex, based at Heriott-Watt University, has to offer in preparation for the friendly defeat to the Netherlands in November, the SFA have pledged to use it to build up to all their future matches and Campbell, the son of Arbroath manager Dick, can’t wait until the benefits translate onto the field of play.

“The first year of Oriam has been a huge success and we are delighted,” said Campbell, also the assistant manager of high-flying League Two outfit Montrose, who has recently completed a full audit of the facility’s first year in operation. “The partners are football, rugby, handball, netball, Scottish squash and basketball, plus we have Hearts as a custodian - done through the auspices of the SFA. I started here as a student in 2001 and I have worked right through now to the chief exec position.

“I could work through all of the success but we will start out with Scottish rugby since they are in,” he added. “We worked out a stat that their training programme increased by 20% as a result of Oriam being here – compared to the previous year. Last year they achieved their highest ever world ranking of 5th and that has cascaded down to the Under-20s and the women – they had their highest ever finish in the Six Nations. But from the SFA we are only really starting to scratch the surface.

“On a personal level, my favourite moment was when I was watching Finn Russell and Greig Laidlaw, practising their kicking, they were in here one morning, I think it was the Thursday. Then I got in from Montrose and I watched and realised that Finn had pretty much kicked the winner against Australia with the last kick of the ball. That was the moment which crystallised for me why we are here. It was lashing with rain outside and they were in practising when they couldn’t have done before.”

A hotel was recently opened on the site and further expansion is also planned – not least some state-of-the-art indoor tennis courts to replace the courts which were previously here before the upgrade – but Campbell, young for a chief executive at 34 or not, does not fear further erosion of his time in football. He is registered as a player for Montrose even if manager Stewart Petrie has yet to look in his direction this season, and joining his dad in next season’s League One is not an entirely improbable outcome. Dick, you will recall, has had his own struggles with cancer. “I can attribute a lot of things to my dad in terms of my football, he’s been a big influence on my character, but he’s not had much to do with my university life or this career!” said Campbell. “I enjoyed working with him in my time in football but it’s a bit different here!

“Twelve months ago, we had just opened Oriam and I was suffering from sheer exhaustion. I was the captain but I was struggling in the warm ups. I got on really well with Paul Hegarty so I just told him and that was the end of it really. But my dad is doing great,” he added. “We were speaking at a wedding the other day. He said ‘it would be great if you guys got promotion because then you might have Angus derbies next year against Brechin and Forfar.”

**To find out more about Oriam, Scotland’s Sports Performance Centre, and its world-class facilities, visit