two Aberdeen clubs will be plying their trade in different parts of Glasgow this after-noon, one of them confident of exercising control, the other simply trying to exorcise demons.

In the rugby corner, Aberdeen GSFP are unbeaten and sit atop the BT Premiership with genuine hopes of winning the title for the first time. For their football confreres, who have managed just one goal while conceding 28 in the last six visits to Celtic Park, damage limitation seems the best available option.

Strangely enough, or perhaps not, the Grammar coach, Damian Reidy, is not entirely happy at the timing of today's meeting with Glasgow Hawks, despite ample evidence to justify confidence in his team's penchant for travel. In normal circumstances, you might have envisaged this top-of-the-table clash attracting a sizeable crowd as a means of showcasing the best aspects of our domestic club rugby.

Any chance of that happening, though, has been scuppered by the morning's small matter of Scotland v France in the World Cup, which will doubtless reduce the attendance at Old Anniesland to a few hundred. So much for joined-up thinking or a little foresight in the mix.

''It's sad, isn't it? We will probably miss the match on the bus coming down, and it's not exactly the ideal circumstances in which to sell the club game,'' said Reidy, whose charges have recently recorded away successes over Hawick, Wat-sonians, and gained the better of a draw at Heriot's.

''If I was a Scotland fan and there was the opportunity to watch the biggest match of the year on the TV, or in the pub, then I know what I'd be doing on Saturday. But you have to question the approach to this, because in [his native] Australia, the clubs would have sat down with the SRU to ensure that this kind of situation did not occur.''

At least Reidy's men will bring optimism down with them, free from the endless soul-searching which pervades Pittodrie folk these days. His side have grown accustomed to beating Hawks, having done so on five consecutive occasions last season, epitomising the consistency, the resilience, and never-say-die spirit which has seen them rally from desperate positions repeatedly throughout the present campaign.

''You have to believe in your own abilities, or you are in trouble straight away,'' says the tough-as-teak Reidy, who will lock horns in battle with Peter Wright.

''I care about Aberdeen FC, because I want to see the city's other clubs doing well along with us, but they seem to go into these games at Parkhead in similar fashion to the way that the Scotland rugby team approaches playing the All Blacks.

''I'm not saying that they are beaten before they start, but there is this negative mindset, where you are almost waiting for things to go wrong, rather than working on the principle that you make your own luck and leave the other guys to worry about you.

''Certainly, from my perspective, we have had to work our socks off to earn the respect of clubs like Melrose, but I've said all along that sport revolves around concentrating on your own strengths and not being discouraged by those of your opponents.

Of course, Hawks will be tough and it will be decided in the forwards, but, let's be honest, if we're not excited about contests like this one, then we're all in the wrong business.''

Reidy's contention that the SRU should have considered delaying today's card by 24 hours has merit. So too, the notion that the clubs themselves should be organising special promotions to lure their fans in for the French haute cuisine, prior to selling them a club sandwich. But, as he concluded, there will be plenty time to advertise the renewed va-va-voom of the Premiership, and nothing will be decided at this stage of the title hunt.

''If we maintain our stranglehold over Hawks, that will be terrific, but I've insisted all along that there are five or six sides capable of beating one another, and we have to keep battling away,'' said Reidy, for whom the strapping 17-year-old, John Beattie Jr, will make his presence felt in the Aber-deen pack. ''Tell you what, though, it should be a cracking game, because we've been scoring lots of tries, and they've been very parsimonious in defence. Something has to give.''

An Aberdeen team with piles of points? Yes, we have to be in rugby territory, don't we?

BT Premiership match of the day

Glasgow Hawks v Aberdeen GSFP

The irresistable force takes on the immovable object at Anniesland. Visitors Grammar are the division's top points scorers while Hawks boast the meanest defence. Thanks to the bonus points they have gathered, Grammar, despite featuring a draw in their record, lead second-placed Hawks by three points, though the latter have won all their fixtures.

Peter Wright, the Hawks' coach, is the first to acknowledge that there is still a lot more to be got out his team. Developing a midfield blend has been on-going and he feels the strongest outward combination from scrum half Richie McKnight is on display today: namely Mike Rainey, Steve Duffy and Ricky Munday. For the first time he has to disrupt a consistent forward front five. Lock Steve Begley is unavailable so experienced Scott Hutton plays.

Like Wright, Damian Reidy, the Grammar coach, is trying to regard it as just another game, while reminding Hawks that his side beat them five times last season.

A fascinating aspect to his forward squad is the presence of a couple of former Glasgow Academy boys in Grant Strang and John Beattie, who impressed Reidy when he came on for the first time last week.

Forecast Grammar to win another thriller