As Glasgow Caledonian Reds clung desperately to the forlorn hope of reaching the knockout stages, so Edinburgh Reivers were adjusting to taking part in an unexpected dog-fight after a weekend which saw reputations ravaged in rugby's European Cup.

The Reds, like defending champions Northampton Saints, whose third successive defeat left the Reivers tied at the top of Pool One with Leinster and Biarritz, are all but mathematically out.

''Our hopes of staying in this competition are fast fading into the horizon,'' was as much as Reds coach Richie Dixon would concede following their abject 46-24 defeat at the hands of French side Pau at Glasgow's Hughenden.

Doubtless he feels he cannot afford to concede publicly that theirs is a lost cause, but the main target must now be to regain some form before continuing their assault on the Celtic League title next month.

''There is a very tough game in prospect in France next weekend now, and we will find out then what this team is made of,'' was his challenge to his players ahead of the return leg in Pau.

''We have lost the edge we had found in the league. ''Obviously it is deeply disappointing to go from the performance which saw us beat Cardiff to a situation where we are now struggling,'' continued Dixon.

At least the Reds injury crisis among senior players has not worsened as seemed might be the case when Scotland full back Glenn Metcalfe limped off.

He suffered a painful blow to his kneecap, but the damage is not believed to be serious.

The Reivers, meanwhile, will be without international lock Nathan Hines for some time after he was stretchered off shortly after scoring his team's first try during the 29-18 defeat in Biarritz.

Their gloomy weekend was rounded off when news came through that back up stand-off Gordon Ross is in plaster after suffering a double ankle break during Heriot's defeat of


''You don't have time to feel sorry for yourselves in this competition with another match on Friday, so it is good to see that morale has been maintained,'' said manager Ian Rankin as their squad - including the ever upbeat Hines hobbling along on crutches - remained surprisingly chirpy as they returned to Scotland.

Reivers coach Frank Hadden acknowledged that both results in their group had gone against them though.

''Leinster's 14-8 defeat of Northampton was a disappointing result for us, but it could go right down to the wire now in the last match,'' he said.

''Hopefully the second half (in Biarritz) gave us some heart for the week ahead. The feeling is that we should do well next week.''

Heineken Cup Pages 8 and 9