Glasgow look to sign off with a Saints victory

WE know we go into Saturday's Heineken Cup finale with Northampton with only pride on the line.

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Niko Matawula will get starting place against Northampton on Saturday
Niko Matawula will get starting place against Northampton on Saturday

But for the Saints their hopes of qualification will rest on them trying to claim a bonus-point victory over us.

And that means if we can get the better of my former club in a game of such magnitude for them it will be a great way to sign off from what has ultimately been a disappointing European campaign for us at Glasgow.

To be sitting at the bottom of Pool Four with just the two bonus points to show for our efforts is something that does not make for pleasant reading. It is also a case of the whole story not being told, however.

We have put an awful lot into the five games that have gone before and been left largely empty handed.

With the exception of the home game with Castres, which was by a distance, our poorest performance of the season and yet one in which we were still competitive, we have had spells where we were on top in each of the other games.

In respect of that, I look back at the opening Pool Four game down at Franklin's Gardens with Northampton and would highlight that fixture as the key game in this European campaign and unfortunately the big one that got away.

On a beautiful Sunday afternoon in October we went down to Franklin's Gardens and played superbly for half an hour to take a 15-point lead.

In terms of executing our game plan it was probably the best 30 minutes of rugby we have produced this season and the way we silenced one of the most passionate supports in English club rugby was fantastic.

But then for some strange reason we stopped believing, lost control of momentum, then suffered a series of injuries to our back-line that left us disjointed and unbalanced. Ultimately, then, we came away with nothing from a game we had threatened to run away with.

The pool stages of the Heineken are so intense that if you lose your opening game you are automatically on the back foot and yet it could have all been so different.

Yet I believe we have learned game to game over this Heineken Cup campaign what is required to win at this level.

On Saturday, in front of our fans, I am confident we can put it all together to produce what would be a massive European result for us even, if as I said, pride is all that is at stake.

Selection wise, Niko Matawalu will start at nine while we have selection calls to make over Ruaridh Jackson and Ryan Wilson to name but two of our injured players who missed out at Ulster last week.

I had hoped to have included Rory Lamont for the first time this season, but although he played for Dundee against Currie a fortnight back, I felt he needed another game last weekend and unfortunately his ankle flared up and he had to call off on match day.

But I look back at the way we dealt with the physicality of the Northampton pack and take real confidence that we can win the battle up front on Saturday that will then allow us to produce something special and really repay the Glasgow support for their tremendous backing.


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