HIBERNIAN chief executive Leeann Dempster has confirmed the club are in talks with the Scottish Rugby Union over the possibility of Edinburgh groundsharing at Easter Road.

Mark Dobson, Dempster’s SRU counterpart, claimed at the weekend that they were closer to reaching a deal that would see the PRO12 side play “a couple” of matches at the Leith stadium next season as an experiment.

Edinburgh are keen to find a more suitable home, with the 67,800-capacity BT Murrayfield arena regarded as too vast for the needs of a club that had an average home crowd of 4845 last season.

The atmosphere at Glasgow’s Scotstoun Stadium, which holds 9708, has been seen as key to their success, culminating in last month’s PRO12 title success.

Hibs will weigh up the financial benefits against whether their pitch can cope with around an additional 14 rugby games per season.

The surface at Partick Thistle’s Firhill ground deteriorated when Glasgow played there before the move to Scotstoun.

Dempster insisted nothing has been decided as yet. She said: “There have been discussions between the club and SRU that have run over a number of years.

“It was live last year, an exercise of ‘is there a possibility?’ But at that point last year we had too many things to focus on.

“We’ve picked up that conversation again this year, but that’s all it is, a conversation. We have really just started, literally, a general discussion about possibilities.

“We have talked about community use of the stadium, the diverse use of it on a non-matchday...it is genuinely just a discussion point at the minute.”

Meanwhile, Grand Slam hero Roy Laidlaw has told Scotland to forget about winning the Rugby World Cup and focus on getting through to the quarter-finals from a tough Pool B.

Scottish Rugby chief executive Mark Dodson set the bold ambition of winning the tournament in June 2012 as part of a four-year plan. The Scots failed to reach the last eight for the first time that year.

Vern Cotter’s side finished bottom of this year’s Six Nations table, though, ahead of a World Cup campaign that will see them face Japan on September 23, the US four days later, South Africa on October 3 and Samoa on October 10.

Laidlaw believes the quarter-finals have to be the first target. He said of Dodson’s ambition: “I don’t think it’s a realistic aim,” he said. “I think qualifying for the quarter-finals would be a realistic aim for us. The South Africa game is probably a bit above Scotland. Japan and USA will be difficult, but I think we can progress to the quarter-finals if we can beat Samoa.”

Laidlaw, who was scrum-half in Scotland’s 1984 Grand Slam triumph, was speaking from Jed-Forest on the Rugby World Cup trophy tour. He is pleased with the advances made under Cotter, but thinks a lack of strength in depth has been exposed.

Scotland’s shortcomings have led to the active recruitment of overseas players, enticing stars from other rugby-playing nations to Glasgow and Edinburgh in a bid to meet World Rugby’s residency rules.

Laidlaw added: “I don’t like the idea but the reality is that everybody else does it so you’re putting yourself at a disadvantage if you don’t follow suit.”