The good news is that the Glasgow squad is to start training in two weeks' time in preparation for European competition next season. If negotiations are fruitful it looks as though the squad is to be expanded by some high-quality players, including foreigners with Scottish ancestry.

''I spoke to Brian Simmers, Chris Simmers' father, and he told me that Chris is now working through here, and it is hoped that he will be playing his club rugby in Glasgow itself,'' says Glasgow team manager Hamish Fyfe. ''We have sent out 24 offers of contracts, and although there are no surprise names, I can confirm that we have made enquiries of the likes of Stewart Campbell, who used to play his rugby here.''

On a coaching front, Fyfe has told the Herald that most of the planning will be discussed at a meeting with Jim Telfer at Murrayfield tomorrow. ''We are to meet with Jim and it seems likely that Kevin Greene is to do the coaching of the side in the scenario that was discussed before he left for New Zealand,'' says Fyfe. Greene's compatriot, Keith Robertson, who was due to coach the team, has found difficulty in obtaining the necessary working permits for Great Britain.

''We shall know who is appointed coach for definite on Thursday,'' says Fyfe. West forwards coach Gordon MacPherson has been offered a contract to coach the Glasgow forwards, and Fyfe is hopeful that the big New Zealander will accept.

Having spoken to some of the players who have been offered contracts by the provinces, it appears that the basic contract sums for players are well below #20,000 a man - around #12,000 to #15,000 is more accurate - and so not as tempting as they might otherwise have been, especially to those who are already in quite well-paid jobs, even if they are young. Some have told me that they would not be tempted to go full-time for that amount of money.''

''I think we have to accept that not all of the players in the squad will be full-time rugby players,'' said Fyfe. ''We did meet the players and explain to them that we will need a squad that is far bigger than 24 people. So there is scope for others to join the professional game.''

As to expanding the squad, Fyfe says that Glasgow will liaise with the clubs to offer class players the chance of playing for the city. ''It is up to us now to talk to the likes of Dougie Livingston at West, and the other club managers, and see how we can combine to make it attractive for players to come here - financially it is important,'' says the Glasgow manager. ''Yes, we are examining all of the angles, including overseas players with the right pedigree. We need to see what the clubs are up to.''

What the Glasgow squad is up to is of more pressing importance. ''A great deal will depend on Gordon MacPherson and whether he decides to accept what we have offered, but training for the squad starts on May 17, at Jordanhill College, and they will be together twice a week to start with,'' says Fyfe.

''Glasgow's development officer, Ken McEwan, will be taking them for training initially, and we are hunting for a specialist weights trainer. In the meantime, we have to sort out the employment side for the players to find out how many of them can actually start as full-time rugby players as soon as possible.''

All of which sounds exciting to me. Perhaps professionalism is going to give this city the kick up the backside it so richly deserves. But, on a more serious note, Fyfe, the former West stand off, himself now joins the ranks of the paid in rugby as Glasgow team manager, and so he will have to ease up on the real job for a while to do a proper job in this one. He is a partner with legal firm Ruthven Keenan Pollock & Co. ''I will have to split my time now, yes. It is quite incredible,'' he admits.

''I will have to work out a plan and sit down with my other partners and discuss a way through.''

Yes, that is the reality of professional district rugby, and I suppose this is what Keith Robertson - of SFDR, this time - always said would take money from the club game.

Fyfe is convinced the city will back the Glasgow team when it takes on top-class opposition, and now is the time to show us that the players deserve our support by working their butts off in a professional way as they get ready to shock a few in Europe. I am getting excited by it all and it's only flaming May.