Scottish Borders will again be without their Scotland scrum half Bryan Redpath for what, in understated terms, is something of a vital European qualifying match against Glasgow at Philiphaugh tonight.

Redpath was in the original selection for this game but the Melrose man was then advised by the medics at Murrayfield on Wednesday that he would require a further week before returning to the fray.

Kelso's Iain Fairley is restored to the scrum-half position and Graham Cowe is again on the bench.

The other late change for Borders has been brought about by the withdrawal of Ron Kirkpatrick. Craig Redpath comes in at blind-side flanker and Adam Roxburgh and Carl Hogg revert to their respective positions at open-side flanker and No.8.

Despite these alterations to the side, and the lack of any recent wins, there is no hint of pessimism in the Borders camp. After all, they do have Craig Chalmers back at stand-off.

''We feel that we are capable of winning the game. Obviously it will be psychologically hard, simply because we are out of the winning habit. When you're on a downer, everything can seem to go against you,'' said Peter Gallagher, the Borders' assistant coach.

Gallagher is only too aware that Glasgow have enjoyed success this season, most recently their 36-20 win over Edinburgh at Scotstoun last Sunday, a performance that was all about two players.

''We know that Tommy Hayes and James Craig pose a real threat. We certainly can't afford to give away penalties because Hayes will kick goals while Craig can turn any number of situations into scoring chances,'' observed Gallagher.

''But we have pace in the middle and I think we will ask a few questions as well,'' added the former Watsonians coach.

Last Friday against Caledonia, Borders lost the frontal battle to the Reds' pack but in tonight's match the forward clash looks like being a much more evenly balanced contest, with not a few individual duels in prospect - not least at hooker, where Jim Hay and Gordon Bulloch are the front-runners for selection against Australia next month.

There will be an interesting contest, too, between the two young locks, Ian Fullarton and Guy Perret, and in the back row, between open-siders Adam Roxburgh and Iain Sinclair.

Glasgow's coach, Kevin Greene, while satisfied with the win over Edinburgh, is aware that not all phases of play went well last Sunday.

''I was not happy with our set-piece play, especially the lineout. We've subsequently worked on a lot of things this week but the difficulty has been that we have not had a lot of time.''

He added: ''I watched Borders last Friday and appreciate that it will be hard for us. They played the game at a high pace and recycled ball very well. We've got to be accurate in our tackling.''

In many ways it was defence that defeated Borders at Jedburgh in round one of the European Qualifying Tournament, albeit that Caledonia were not alert enough to prevent Tony Stanger from scoring a fine try through the middle.

Stanger and fellow centre Cameron Murray, who prefer to play in a right/left formation, will be up against Chris Simmers and Matt McGrandles, two players who have taken their chances in district rugby to advance their own career prospects.

''We owe a lot to the midfield of Simmers and McGrandles,'' said Greene. ''They are not the prototype crash-ball centres but they are good ball players and have evasive running skills.''

Both centres will carry a big responsibility in providing the links between Glasgow's playmaker at stand-off, Hayes, and the strike force of Craig on the left wing and Derek Stark on the right flank.

Glasgow's other playmaker is Fraser Stott. The West of Scotland player has hit his best form this season and will want to re-arrange the scrum-half pecking order with a good display against Fairley.

The Glasgow team will not be finalised until today but meanwhile Steve Begley and Danny Porte have been called into the 24-strong squad.

This will be Greene's final game with Glasgow on Scottish soil, before he returns to his native country early next month.

The New Zealander has tried to change rugby culture in Glasgow at district level and has succeeded.

A win tonight for Glasgow would be the perfect thank-you as well as guaranteeing the city side a place in the European Cup next season. Borders, however, having played some delightful rugby in Europe, are equally deserving of a win. All of which should add up to a fascinating match at Selkirk. Teams:

Scottish Borders - G Aitchison; S Nichol, A Stanger, C Murray, M Dods; C Chalmers, I Fairley; N McIlroy, J Hay, S Ferguson, R Brown, I Fullarton, C Redpath, C Hogg, A Roxburgh. Replacements - M Moncrieff, S Welsh, G Cowe, S Aitken, I Elliot, M Browne, S Botherstone.

Glasgow - (from) C Sangster, G Fraser, D Stark, C Simmers, M McGrandles, J Craig, G Metcalfe, T Hayes, F Stott, C Little, G McIlwham, G Bulloch, C Docherty, A Kittle, M Beckham, D Porte, M Norval, G Perrett, S Begley, M Wallace, I Sinclair, D McLeish, F Wallace, J Shaw.


Glasgow Lucozade Sport Under 18 League, Section 3 - East Kilbride 29, Cumbernauld 0.