WITH a full team of current Scottish internationalists on the pitch, tomorrow's Heineken Cup meeting between Northampton Saints and Glasgow is almost like an international trial.

Indeed, since Ian McGeechan, the Scotland coach, will also be at his home from home having built the infrastructure in his time at Franklin's Gardens that has allowed Northampton to become one of Europe's leading clubs, the game kicks off what is almost a two-day camp for much of the national squad, who will get together at Murrayfield the following day.

That has passed neither side by, as Tom Smith, the former Glasgow Caledonians Reds prop, readily acknowledges.

''There is an extra edge to this game because there are so many of us involved,'' he said.

''There are, after all, going to be about 15 Scotland caps on the pitch, and most of us will then be at Murrayfield on Monday.''

Smith even jokingly toyed with the idea of asking for a lift on the Glasgow team bus as they returned north on Sunday evening, however, had he and his Scottish clubmates considered it seriously, the problem would have been that there would not have been sufficient room to accommodate everyone.

Certainly, just as Bath were captained by a Scot, Andy Nicol the current Glasgow skipper, when they became the first British side to win the European Cup, so the Scottish influence at Northampton could hardly have been greater when the club claimed the trophy, its first ever silverware, two seasons ago.

McGeechan's departure made way for John Steele, formerly coach of London Scottish, with Colin Deans, the ex-Scotland captain on the backroom staff throughout.

Nowadays almost one third of their European Cup squad are Scots, the six internationalists Smith, Budge Pountney, John Leslie, Mattie Stewart, Steve Brotherstone and Craig Moir, as well as Rob Hunter, Simon Webster and Andy Rennick.

That could give Glasgow some insight into their style of play, but with the entire Glasgow back line, Tommy Hayes apart, having been in the Scotland squad that beat Ireland last week, men as astute as Pountney and his predecessor as Scotland captain Leslie, have been given even greater opportunity to work out their opponents' strengths and weaknesses.

Yet not even those two are as well placed to offer an opinion upon the way Glasgow's rugby fortunes have improved under Richie Dixon than Smith who left the then Reds just as the former Scotland coach took over two years ago.

''They've certainly got a bit of a run going,'' said the veteran of six Tests for the British & Irish Lions.

''Winning four matches on the trot going into Europe was impressive enough as was that draw with Montferrand, because they are one of the top two or three clubs in France at the moment in a competition where there are around 16 good sides.

''We never got results like that when I was there,'' he added slightly ruefully.

That observation on what was widely regarded in Scotland as a disappointing draw with Montferrand - Glasgow having led by 10 points with just three minutes of normal time remaining - is particularly significant since Smith has only just left French rugby after two seasons with Brive.

Consequently, while Smith would never be foolish enough to say otherwise, he seems genuinely to believe that there is growing respect for Scottish rugby south of the Border.

A combination of Scotland's win over Ireland in which so many Saints as well as Glasgow players were involved; Glasgow's recent form, and Northampton's own experience against Edinburgh last year - losing home and away in this competition when they were defending champions - have contributed to that.

From a nationalistic point of view he is certainly not unhappy about it.

''To have a successful national team you need the domestic teams to be doing as well as possible,'' he said.

However, he is also keen to be part of bringing the Glasgow bandwagon to a temporary stop at least.

''We had a very disappointing result against Cardiff last week and we need to get back on the road,'' he said.

''There is a real desperation to put things right.

''I feel there is a lot of potential here and we are just waiting for it to click.''

All of which sounds rather familiar, and since Smith, Pountney, Leslie and Stewart were all part of a Scotland side which finally got things together a fortnight ago, their Scotland colleagues are only too well aware of the danger if that quartet are allowed to dictate matters at Franklin's Gardens tomorrow.