A PEEBLES chartered surveyor who played a major role in the ‘mega project’ construction of the Al Bayt Stadium in Qatar where the opening ceremony and first match of the FIFA World Cup 2022 took place is due back in Scotland this week.

Ian Thomson led the construction and consultant teams in delivering the stadium ready for the tournament and he even managed to squeeze in five games.

The contest culminated in the best World Cup final in recent memory, with Argentinian superstar Lionel Messi pipping his domestic team-mate Kylian Mbappé to the trophy despite the French forward's hat-trick.

While Ian believes there were good and bad aspects to the tournament, the positives far outweighed the negatives.

He said: "On a positive note, the standard of football played in almost all the matches and the upsets that just kept coming, and the stadia shone in all their glory.

“Qatar welcomed the world both east and west and enlightened a lot of people as to the culture and heritage of this part of the world.

“The relatively new Doha Metro which moved the fans around the city at all times of the day until 3am is fast clean, efficient and free to all holders of the “Hayya” card so basically it was free public transport for four weeks and not just to and from the matches.

“The fans from all countries mingled and had great fun. All ages, all races, all religions, females, children and older people and there was not one bit of trouble anywhere.

“I only visited one on the Corniche but the fan zones were all over the city and each was well attended if not full.

“I even managed to fit in the Robbie Williams concert at Doha Golf Club which was superb.

“The atmosphere at all parts of the city during the tournament was party/carnival-like at all times and it was a completely trouble free and safe tournament.

“My only negative thoughts concerned the barrage of unjust negativity from the western, and in particular parts of the UK media which I thought was a total disgrace.

“There were some early teething problems with the FIFA ticketing system activating on phones and fans temporarily ‘losing’ their tickets, including me, but that was resolved very quickly.

“Late kick-offs, 10pm local time to suit Europe and the Americas meant arriving back in the apartment at 2.30am-3am, and up for work at 5am but it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.

“For me though, the organisation, policing, stewarding and logistics involved in having a “one country, one city” World Cup were almost perfect.

“I am now working on the F1 Project at Lusail which all has to be ready for race weekend in October next year.”