ED KALMAN has said the competition for the Glasgow tight-head berth is the fiercest it's ever been at Warriors.
The front-row's impressive form last year and in particular a man-of-the-match performance against European champions Leinster at Firhill helped him make his Scotland breakthrough.
Kalman came off the bench during Scotland's epic 27-13 defeat by Wales and 24 hours later the prop penned a new deal tying him to the Scotstoun club until May 2014.
But now the 29-year-old claimshe battle for the tight-head place between himself, Moray Low and Mike Cusack is the most intense at Glasgow and says that a good pre-season is vital to his hopes of starting the season as a first pick.
Kalman said: "All of my success last season was built on the fact I had my best ever pre-season with Warriors.
"When you look at how well Mike Cusack did in his first season at Glasgow and the fact that Moray Low was on tour with Scotland, then that shows the intensity of the competition for the tight-head berth.
"The other boys may not agree, but for me the competition for the No.3 jersey is the fiercest it's been at Glasgow.
"The only way to win that is to do the hard yards during pre-season and embrace the hammering you get over the first few weeks.
"I am not one for obsessing about stats and how much I am bench pressing, what works for me is how good I feel and I feel I am on course to be in my best ever shape.
"The bottom line is that this is the place I will have to be if I want to start the season as first pick at tight head."
Warriors completed their first block of a four-week pre-season today and will now enjoy a week off.
Big Ed admits that the first month under the new Gregor Townsend regime has been as brutal as any he has encountered.
He said: "Obviously Gregor has come in with his slant on things and there has been a bit of a change with how we worked under Sean Lineen, but both have been good for me.
"Tempo and intensity have been a big part of things and for a prop how you do in that respect all boils down to what shape you are in.
"It will be good to get a break as the work we have put in has been intense to say the least."
Reflecting on what was a huge season for him, Kalman admits he needs to back it up in campaign 2012/13.
Big Ed said: "Getting my Scotland cap and also signing the new deal were big objectives of mine.
"Now it is down to me to prove I can maintain that level or even lift it a notch.
"That is the target for the season ahead."