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Revenge trip to Glasgow is key for lock

They do say that revenge is a dish best served cold, and Edinburgh's determination to get one over their inter-city rivals from Glasgow on Saturday has certainly been strengthened by a four-month rest in the Murrayfield chiller.

 Grant Gilchrist has challenged his Edinburgh team-mates to prove that they are better than their recent form has suggested. Picture: SNS Group/ SRU
Grant Gilchrist has challenged his Edinburgh team-mates to prove that they are better than their recent form has suggested. Picture: SNS Group/ SRU

Glasgow won the first leg of the 1872 Cup in the national stadium last December, taking victory with a scoreline of 20-16. But Edinburgh, who had looked the better team for much of that game, were denied the chance to turn the tables on their friends from the west when the return match at Scotstoun, which should have taken place on New Year's Day, was cancelled due to a flooded pitch.

The memory of that setback has festered in Grant Gilchrist's mind ever since, and the Edinburgh lock is determined to use it as motivation when the sides lock horns finally at Scotstoun in two days time.

"I thought that for 60 minutes we were the better team," said Gilchrist of the December game. "Around that time we had been playing some good stuff and had been building towards that game and for 60 minutes we did what we set out to do and dominated physically. But with one turnover, they spun the ball wide and scored and that hurt us.

"I was bitterly disappointed after the game, it was tough to take. Like everything, we are professional athletes and want to win games of rugby with this club and have been on the losing end too many times, especially against Glasgow. It is only us who can fix it and we aim to do that this weekend."

The momentum, however, is firmly with Glasgow at the moment. While Gregor Townsend's side have won their last five RaboDirect PRO12 games - a sequence which has brought them tantalisingly close to securing a home tie in the play-off stages - Edinburgh have won just once in their last five outings. Last weekend's 26-13 loss to Zebre, the league's bottom-placed side, was a nadir for the capital club.

Yet Gilchrist believes his side can still give Glasgow a run for their money. "We are not bothered with what they are doing," he said of the Warriors' run of form. "We have enough to be worried about here; we are on a path we want to improve and there are guys there who are passionate about doing that.

"Though we have maybe not played as well as we would have liked, we have three games left to prove the growth that this team has had. A win away at Glasgow would be as big a result as we could get to prove we are on the right track."

Edinburgh's trajectory - a host of overseas signings, a mini exodus of Scottish players and a sequence of dismal results - does not look too impressive from the outside, but Gilchrist, a regular feature in the side this season, believes things are coming together.

"It has been tough," he added. "There are a lot of new guys here, while at the start of the season there were new systems. We have developed from the start of the season though we have maybe taken a wee bit of a dip in form.

"We are missing a few guys through injury, but that is not really an excuse. It has not looked great in the last few weeks but it is only us in here [at Murrayfield] who can show we are moving it the right direction."

The combination of better weather and firmer pitches appears to have advantaged Glasgow in recent weeks, with tries now flowing far more freely than they did earlier in the season. In truth, Edinburgh's prospects of a win at Scotstoun probably looked far better in the murky depths of winter than they do now, but Gilchrist, who has won four caps since his Scotland debut last year, had no complaints about the January postponement.

"I know we were ready to go but it really was unplayable," he said. "I was out on the pitch and it was goosed, there was no doubt about it. It was frustrating but the same for both teams. I am sure they were desperate to play as well."

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