Cup sign-off can help us pen fairytale

IT was a huge bonus for us to end our Heineken Cup campaign with a victory over Northampton.

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NIko was ace at scrum-half
NIko was ace at scrum-half

The frustration we felt over the preceding games is documented. Sometimes that level of annoyance can have a negative impact but I was delighted with the effort I got from the boys.

For me, our victory over Northampton encapsulated everything we want to achieve and produce at Scotstoun on a regular basis.

It was a truly entertaining game of rugby that had everything and we claimed the win with a try from Peter Horne that is the front runner for our try of the season.

I think the reaction from the players and the fans summed up just how much that win meant, but what we can't afford to do is not to learn from it and build on it.

I do genuinely believe that the lessons we have learned from this campaign, both helped us beat Northampton, and will also assist us over the final few months of the RaboDirect PRO12 competition.

Now of course we have gone into our three-week international break on a high but when we return to action against Zebre, on Sunday, February 10, at the Stadio XXV Aprile, it will be absolutely vital we do not waste this victory. We have to instead use it as a benchmark for the league run-in.

There were so many positives from Saturday's success, be it the immense effort of our pack in totally nullifying the much-fancied Saints driving maul, to the individual brilliance of Niko Matawalu at scrum-half. And of course that sensational try of Peter's which clinched a famous victory.

Given that there was only pride resting on the result for us, while Northampton were playing for a bonus point triumph that was needed to give them a chance of making the quarter-finals, it was all the sweeter.

But I am determined there will be more great days ahead at Scotstoun before the season is complete.

What it means right now is that our Scotland contingent of 19 players head into the national side's training camp being held at Scotstoun this week with a massive feel-good factor about them.

Glasgow produced a result that no one expected against an English side that were massive favourites against us, and hopefully that is a portent for the Calcutta Cup match with England on Saturday week at Twickenham.

There is a new set-up at Scotland with Scott Johnson installed as interim head coach, and I was lucky enough to have his help as my mentor during my first few weeks as boss with Glasgow Warriors. I learned a tremendous amount from Scott.

I think the national squad have been very lucky that Scott was in situ, ready, willing and more than able to take over following Andy Robinson's departure.

"I know that the Glasgow contingent have been impressed with both his manner and his methods over this week's three-day Scotland training camp.


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