Very much the surprise package of the Scottish/Welsh League this season, Bridgend arrive at Hughenden tonight playing down their chances, but well aware that another upset win could be the key to qualifying for Europe next season.

While earning better seeding than Edinburgh Reivers is the main motivation for the home side, the Reds are carrying all the pressure, and Dennis John, the visitors' coach, was playing that to the maximum yesterday.

''If you had told me in September that we would still be trying to qualify for Europe at this stage in the season, I would have bitten your hand off, but it has been a long, hard season,'' he said. ''I have a great deal of respect for Glasgow. They are a very powerful and tasty side.

''You have always got to be confident and we will be, but our players are tired and are carrying a few bumps and bruises, so all we've had time for since we got here is a bit of massage.''

What is significant about that, however, is that Bridgend have been relaxing in their Glasgow west-end hotel since Wednesday evening, having made the trip north rather earlier than most of their rival Welsh clubs and earlier than they travelled when they visited Edinburgh Reivers and lost in December.

''That is something we have looked at. We felt when we came up then that we were still on the bus when the game started, so this time we wanted to give ourselves every chance,'' John explained.

Since the only Welsh side to have won in Scotland this season - league leaders Swansea, who claimed away wins over the Reds and the Reivers - also did so after travelling earlier than the norm, this may offer Bridgend a slight psychological advantage.

However, the Reds go into the game with Andy Nicol, their captain, and fellow internationalists Gordon McIlwham and James McLaren back in the starting line-up, as is Gareth Flockhart, the Scotland A flanker.

Jon Petrie moves into the second row to accommodate Flockhart, and while the Scotland No.8 has never played there as a professional, Richie Dixon, his coach, has no qualms about moving him to what was his first role in the forwards at club level after his career transfoming decision to switch from full back six years ago.

''I have every confidence that Jon can make the switch, and to have so much pace available to us should be to our advantage in what promises to be a fast and exciting game,'' said Dixon.

''Like us, Bridgend look to play pragmatic rugby when they have to, but again, like us, when it is possible, they look to utilise the whole field.

''The good thing, though, is that all our games at this stage of the season have the potential to be very intense and of very high quality.''

That was also the case when the Reds visited Brewery Field, but Dixon is well aware that while entertaining for the crowd, a repeat of the scoreline in September will be far from acceptable to a Hughenden crowd that has become used to seeing their side win.

''We lost 49-27 down there and there is no doubt that the improvement in Bridgend compared with last year is very noticeable,'' he said.

''This is definitely an important game for them because they know they have to win to stay up there in European contention, but it is important for us as well.''

Glasgow Caledonian Reds: G Metcalfe; J McLaren, A Bulloch, J Stuart, R Kerr; T Hayes, A Nicol; D Hilton, G Bulloch, G McIlwham, C Stewart, J Petrie, G Simpson, R Reid, G Flockhart. Replacements - C Docherty, L Harrison, S Hutton, D Macfadyen, F Stott, S Longstaff, B Irving.

Bridgend from: S Taumololo, G Jones, J Funnell, A Durston, M Peters, J Devereux, P Williams, H Harries, J Hewlitt, C Warlow, R Price, L Mustoe, J Clark, A Griffiths, C Hawkins, S Ford, P Clapham, M Molitika, J Ringer, O Lloyd, S Van Rensburg, C Stephens, R Bryan, D Jones.