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Importance of Murrayfield meeting not lost on Grant

Roddy Grant may have been the last man to lead Edinburgh to victory in a derby meeting with Glasgow Warriors but the 25-year-old flanker knows all about the bad taste in the mouth that spoiled yesterday's Christmas dinner.

Roddy Grant believes positives can be taken from the second half at Scotstoun. Picture: SNS
Roddy Grant believes positives can be taken from the second half at Scotstoun. Picture: SNS

That 28-17 victory, during his otherwise fairly disappointing season as club captain in which Rob Moffat was sacked as head coach before the season ended, was the only one enjoyed by the team from the capital in the past eight meetings with their neighbours. A period of what has been close to supremacy in the fixture these past four seasons continued during the opening stages of last Friday's meeting of the sides at Scotstoun as a match-winning margin was racked up in the first 25 minutes as the hosts ran in three tries.

Grant acknowledges just how badly he and his team-mates performed in that period, but believes that the way in which they rallied, ultimately denying Glasgow a four-try bonus point, gave them something to cling to for the return. "Losing is an awful, awful feeling, especially in the manner that we did, to go down by so many, so soon and so cheaply," said the flanker. "Personal and team pride takes a big dent but we showed a lot of spirit when we rallied together when our backs were against the wall.

"The first-half deficit made it really difficult to come back from. It was a really poor first 40. Missed tackles cost us three tries and, ultimately, the game. It was unacceptable, but, in the second half, we at least had some positives to take away. We tightened up in defence, improved our tackling and were more together as a unit.

"For our confidence going into the second leg, it's good that we came together and came back into the game in that way. We stuck in there and improved over the course of the match and that at least is a positive to take from the defeat. We're just desperate to get out there and play this game again at Murrayfield, because we know we're much better than we showed in the majority of the game in Glasgow."

Maybe so, but statistically a stronger case can be made for the argument they are actually much worse than a team that reached a Heineken Cup semi-final earlier this year. The three wins which contributed to that historic success were, after all, among only nine registered by Edinburgh in a calendar year that has encompassed 26 matches.

"It's a must-win for us in terms of the league," Grant admitted. "There's a lot at stake and we're all well aware of that, so there's plenty of motivation going into the game. If we play like we can there's no issue with our belief going into this game that we can win the match and the 1872 Cup.

"They're tough games and very physical and that's where I think the key is for us, to go toe-to-toe and win the collisions and the contact area up front. We've got some smart, smart footballers in this team and, given the opportunity and the platform, they can create and put away the try-scoring chances we'll need to carve out a victory against Glasgow. We're all counting down the days and can't wait to get back out there."

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