Edinburgh Rugby will go into the first leg of the 1872 Cup tomorrow with coach Alan Solomons believing the gap is closing on arch-rivals and hosts Glasgow Warriors.
Edinburgh sit eighth in the Guinness PRO12 table, with Glasgow up in second. However, Solomons, while praising his rivals, sees hope for his own side at Scotstoun.
“Glasgow have done exceptionally well,” says Solomons. “They have had consistency over a long period. Sean Lineen did a splendid job and built the foundation and Gregor Townsend has taken it on.
“We look at ourselves and not in comparison to them – we have come a long way. The realisation of our vision is starting to come through with the youngsters. We are improving, no question about that.
“First, you have to get conditioning right. Then you get the set piece solid. After that you get the defence right and then you move on to evolving attack and focusing on skills and decision-making.”
Precocious talents are emerging in the shape of Hamish Watson (currently injured) and Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, who is starting to make the scrum-half position his own.
However, Solomons has had an uncomfortable year in charge in some respects, with his record in 2014 showing 11 wins and 15 defeats with one draw.
Sceptics have been particularly concerned by the extent of overseas recruitment which, admittedly, is not entirely of his making due to policies of the governing body owners.
Victory tomorrow would certainly go a long way to winning over the doubters.
Solomons, whose side lost by only three points on their last trip to Glasgow, refuses to see tomorrow’s match as mission impossible.
“There are a number of things about Glasgow,” he said. “They have had continuity in terms of playing personnel as well as coaches.
“They have the bulk of the Scottish team and are settled and playing well.
“That is the challenge we are facing
“(But) a derby game it is completely different to any other.”