Rob Wainwright sets out on something of a revenge mission at Firhill tonight (ko 7 pm) when he leads a team into action against the nation that presented Scotland with its most embarrassing result of 1998.

Scots who were in Suva last May still shudder at the memory of the 51-26 defeat Fiji inflicted on tour captain Wainwright and his men.

However, with Wainwright, Shaun Longstaff, Rowen Shepherd and Willie Anderson back from Scotland duty, Glasgow Caledonians have the best chance of reversing the recent trend which has seen the superteams concede 34 unanswered tries in four matches against Southern Hemisphere opposition over the past two weeks.

Shepherd and Anderson have been left out of the starting line-up, however, as coach Keith Robertson shows loyalty to those who performed well against the Maoris last week.

We have to be fair to all the players,'' he noted. ''It's good to have these players back from the national squad and Shepherd and Anderson will probably play at some stage, but others who have done well in their absence deserve to be included too.''

With Jason White, who has worn the No.6 jersey for much of the season, banned after being cited by South Africa, it was easier to immediately reinstall Wainwright as captain. Long-staff's return has more to do with the way James Craig and Alan Bulloch struggled to impose themselves against the Maoris.

Robertson believes, though, that this side, containing as it does seven internationalists, will give a good account of itself against the Fijians.

''This is getting much closer to what we consider to be a full strength Glasgow Caledonians side,'' he noted.

The only players withdrawn because of international demands are John Leslie, who was only briefly part of the superteam squad, Tom Smith and Gordon Bulloch.

Wainwright, Longstaff and Anderson are likely to return to Scotland duty tomorrow, as is full back Glenn Metcalfe, if he proves he has fully recovered from the knee injury that has kept him out for the past month.

''Glenn is fully fit now and ready to try to reclaim his place in the Scotland squad,'' said Robertson. ''The injury to Derrick Lee has obviously given him a chance of being in the Scotland side against Portugal, but after a lengthy lay-off I think he would need to put in a big game for us."

The visitors are disappointed at not having the chance to impress at Test level in the UK, following their remarkable defeat of Scotland.

They have arrived with a squad that is only six short of full strength, although that group of absentees sadly includes the genius Waisale Serevi.

''We were supposed to be playing in the Will Carling testimonial match at Wembley in our main tour game, but that went down the drain,'' their coach Brad Johnstone said yesterday, after their first training session in Glasgow.

''It would have been nice to get the chance to play against any of the home unions and had there been any Tests on this tour they would have been called in. But we have 24 of the 30 players who played in our World Cup qualifiers with us.''

Fiji used their win over Scotland as the platform for that campaign, which saw them beat both Western Samoa and Tonga for the first time in 10 years to claim a place in the World Cup finals.

''The opposition we are facing and the experience of playing, travelling and living together in a cooler climate along with northern hemisphere referees is all part of a big learning process for our boys,'' Johnstone explained.

''Everything from now on is geared up to the World Cup.''

Former Dundee HSFP scrum-half Jacob Rauluni's experience of Scottish conditions may, then, prove invaluable for his side.

He is among seven members of the starting line-up who played against Scotland earlier in the year, although perhaps to the relief of Wainwright, Longstaff, Ian Jardine, Gordon McIlwham and Stewart Campbell, all of whom played in Suva, the pacy Aisea Tuilevu, who scored a hat trick that night, is only listed on the bench.

In drawing comparison with that match Johnstone also stumbled unwittingly into what is the burning issue in Scottish rugby at the moment in pointing towards the administrative bungle, which saw the Scots asked to play a Test match in such alien conditions, with a thoroughly untried team.

''The situation that was forced on the Scottish team made it very hard for them to perform against us. I don't think any other country in the world would allow their players to fly to the other hemisphere and then play a Test in an area they weren't used to without a much greater amount of preparation,'' said Johnstone. ''I had enormous sympathy for them. You have got to be realistic.''

He added that Noone in Fiji had got too carried away with that first-ever success over Scotland.

''It was great at the time to beat Scotland, but we realised that they didn't have anything like their first choice side against us, so it didn't mean as much as it might have done.''

He is also aware that home advantage working in the other direction makes the fixtures against the superteams - they face Edinburgh Reivers in Hawick on Friday - a very different proposition to that meeting with Scotland in May.

''We don't underestimate Glasgow Caledonians of Edinburgh Reivers. We saw what happened on Saturday and the Scots boys have obviously got the fire back in their bellies and I know that Scottish teams will never lie down,'' said Johnstone.

Of Scottish stock, Johnstone was one of Graham Mourie's Grand Slam winning All Blacks in 1978, returning with them when they won again at Murrayfield in 1979 and even viewing the situation from afar he does recognise that Scottish rugby is in trouble, but ahead of tonight's match he offered words of consolation.

''Scotland are going through difficult times, but I am sure they will bounce back,'' he said. ''They have always got the courage and tenacity to do so.'' Teams:

Glasgow Caledonians - G Metcalfe; D Stark, A Collins, I Jardine, S Longstaff; L Smith, C Little; G McIlwham, G Scott, A Kittle, S Campbell, G Perrett, R Wainwright, G Flockhart, G Mackay. Replacements - J Craig, C Simmers, R Shepherd, M Waite, J Petrie, J Manson, W Anderson

Fiji - W Tuisese; I Tikomaimakogai, V Satala, L Koroi, F Lasagavibau; N Little, J Raulini; D Rouse, G Smith, M Taga, I Tawake, S Raiwalui, A Naevo, K Sewabu, A Maituyaga. Replacements - A Tuilevu, L Little, S Rabaka, T Butukanavula, I Male, N Qoro, I Rasila

q Following Saturday's meeting with South Africa Eric Peters has moved to top spot in The Famous Grouse Scottish player of the season rankings.

However, newcomer John Leslie was the top points earner on Saturday, as judged by a panel selected from the Scottish rug by media.

The sponsors also contributed #1000 to Children in Need after their pledge to donate #100 for every point scored by Scotland.