Toony is delighted that Al is back to lead team

WHEN I was appointed head coach of Glasgow Warriors the dates I looked for first were those that provided our 1872 Cup derbies with Edinburgh.

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As a player I never played in the derby and it was always something I regretted.

Having talked to players who have, like Fergus Wallace, the respected former Glasgow captain who is on our staff, I am in no doubt about the passion and importance attached to these two games.

Tomorrow night we host Edinburgh as the oldest club game of the lot comes to Scotstoun for the first time.

Leadership will be one of the most important qualities and I am delighted our skipper Al Kellock will be fit to lead the team.

Over the four months of my tenure as head coach at Warriors I have been hugely impressed by what Al brings to the table. His presence has a galvanising effect that can help the players get an extra 10% out of their games.

Al is a proud Glaswegian and no one loves beating Edinburgh more than him. He has an excellent record against our captial rivals and the fact that we are defending the oldest club trophy of the lot will make us more determined.

But, of course, as if the pride and passion attached to this game were not enough there is also the matter of RaboDirect PRO12 points.

We have slipped out of the play-off positions and are determined to get back in among them. Victory over Edinburgh would be a big step towards that.

While we were very disappointed and frustrated by our defeat at Castres in the Heineken Cup on Sunday, we were only denied a famous victory by the width of a post and the overall performance was positive.

So we have a good platform with which to build into this game but we must show discipline.

Our penalty count at the Stade Pierre Antoine was 21 compared to an average of 11 per match. That is something that can't be repeated this season.

That had us having only 13 players on the pitch at one vital stage in the second-half and that led to our defeat.

But there were so many positives to take in comparison to the disappointing level of performance we produced in our previous three games.

Not least was the outstanding contribution of Niko Matawalu at scrum-half and he will start tomorrow night.

Niko plays at such a tempo that the opposition have problems containing him never mind knowing what he will do next.

So it will be interesting to see how Edinburgh cope.

We are well on course for a sell- out and with the four stands up, the atmosphere should be superb.

I would urge every Glasgow supporter to get behind the boys.

There is no point in trying to play down the level of confidence boost we could get from success over Edinburgh if we can prevail in the next two games, but tomorrow night is all we have on our minds.

This is our chance to pay the Glasgow support back for the way they have stuck behind us and we intend to take it.

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