On returning home from what had been a difficult tour, Gordon Bulloch, the lone home-based Scot to play in a Test for the British and Irish Lions this summer, was relishing the prospect of a fresh start with the new-look Glasgow side.

Rejoining team-mates who had spent the summer bulking and freshening up, but who had a point to prove after so few Scots made it on to the tour, he was confident that this had the makings of a breakthrough season.

A three-match win-less run culminating in Wednesday's 50-15 defeat at Bridgend was, then, hardly the start he expected.

''It is crunch time again, as it always seems to be in Scottish rugby,'' the team's vice-captain said slightly wearily, in the knowledge that they are languishing at the bottom of Celtic League Pool A with just a single point from three matches.

Consequently, while still in August it is perhaps to early to talk about crisis, tonight's meeting with Pontypridd at Hughenden must be won to maintain any realistic hope of reaching the knockout stages.

''This is a vital match. We chucked it away last Friday night when we drew with Munster and while we didn't send our strongest team down to Bridgend, the boys played well in the first half but then capitulated in the second,'' he said.

''We have a very difficult away game still to play at Swansea, so we have to concentrate first of all on winning our home matches and then see where we are.''

Bulloch believes that if the team can maintain its composure they can turn things around quickly, however.

''The problem seems to be that once we lose one try we let in a few because it is panic stations as we try to throw the ball around and forget the gameplan,'' he pointed out.

''There are no excuses for that. It is something we have to sort out, but it is mostly a different side tomorrow from the one that played at Bridgend and we know we performed well for an hour against Ulster last week before that finish to the game, which disappointed everyone.''

For the most part, however, it is the side that played so well in building up a 22-6 lead over Ulster before that disastrous final quarter last week that will play tonight.

In all there are 11 changes to Wednesday's starting XV, with Glenn Metcalfe, Cameron Blades, Nathan Ross, and Jon Petrie the only men to keep their positions, while Roland Reid switches to his new first-choice position on the wing from flanker.

Richie Dixon, Glasgow's coach, played down any suggestion of crisis, then, despite having read the riot act to his men. ''We're under pressure every week and we keep the pressure on the players,'' he said. ''I told them last night that some of them are going to have to take a long, hard look at themselves.

''We will address that further next week, but I can't afford to look back at the moment because we have this match tomorrow. I am quite confident that we have rested enough of the players ahead of this match.''

Of particular concern is a leaky defence that has conceded 114 points in three Celtic League matches, something for which Dixon intends to call upon specialist help in the shape of Alan Tait, the SRU's technical consultant and acknowledged defence expert, who has already helped drill the Edinburgh side this season.

''He has been unable to work with us so far because of circumstances, in particular the work he did with the national under-21 squad, but obviously we will be bringing him in to help us,'' said the coach.

Celtic League, Glasgow v Pontypridd, Hughenden, kick-off 7.30pm

Glasgow G Metcalfe; J Steel, J McLaren, A Henderson, R Reid; T Hayes, A Nicol (captain), C Blades, G Bulloch, D Hilton, N Ross, J White, G Simpson, D Macfadyen, J Petrie Replacements G Scott, L Harrison, A Hall, G Flockhart, C Black, B Irving, J Stuart

Pontypridd B Davey; G Wyatt, S Parker, J Lewis, R Johnston; C Sweeney, P John; G Jenkins, F Vunipola, D Bell, N Kelly, B Cockbain, D McIntosh (captain), R Parks, M Owen Replacements G Baber, A Lawson, C Williams, M Davies, J Griffiths, S Sanara, L Howell