As Finn Russell stood frozen over his third kick against Toulouse last week, you could not help but wonder how much damage was being done to his 22 year-old psyche.

It was early in the second half, his team were trailing by three points and desperate for a storming start to get their momentum going against Toulouse, but as he stood anchored to the spot, it was obvious the demons had got to him.

The duck-hook that followed was even more predictable than the quick-fire penalties that sent Toulouse up to the other end of the field and soon doubled their lead. In the final quarter it was left to Duncan Weir to come off the bench and kick Glasgow back within range.

In the end, Glasgow lost by three points and Russell, who had also endured a torrid time the week before when Toulouse claimed 13 of their 19 points while he was off the field after a clumsy tip tackle, had missed six. As the Americans would say "do the math".

The Glasgow faithful will get a quick chance to find out if the trauma means he is damaged goods or if he has the capacity to overcome this setback to his meteoric career. Despite making 10 changes to his starting fifteen, four forced by injury, for today's table-top clash with Munster, Gregor Townsend, the Glasgow Warriors head coach, has stuck by Russell so firmly he has even given Weir the week off after being involved in all three of Scotland's November games and all three Glasgow matches since club action resumed.

"He [Russell] knows exactly what was going through his mind," said Townsend. "He knows exactly what he should do if he has the same thoughts going through his mind again. He has been an excellent kicker for us: no kicker I've heard of is 100 per cent. You are always going to miss kicks; it is making sure that does not happen too often and, if it does happen once, you clear your mind from the things that take you away from the process - if Finn gets the process right then he is an excellent kicker.

"It is the mental side, whatever goes on in your mind, that gets you away from the process and leads to poor technical execution. It is controlling those thoughts and having a clear focus on whatever it is you have as your triggers. If you do that right you are going to get the ball over and between the posts more often than not."

Townsend admits that as a "mediocre" kicker during his own career, he is not necessarily the best role model but Chris Paterson, Scotland's record points scorer, knows just about everything there is to know about handling pressure kicks and he has been among the experts brought in to straighten the youngster's thoughts.

"This happens all the time to goalkickers so it is part of the process of learning. The important thing to focus on is that Finn is a very good goalkicker. Last year he was leading the league on percentages; for someone in his first year of being a professional that was a tremendous feat. I don't think he missed a kick against Montpellier or against Toulouse away from home. He has worked hard this week and we expect him to kick well," Townsend added.

Russell may also take some comfort from remembering back to May when he kicked Glasgow to victory over Munster in the PRO12 semi final. Every point from his four successful kicks proved vital as his side triumphed 16-15 while losing the try count two-one. He may have to deliver an equally faultless performance to achieve the same result again.

"It is big as as they come in the league; playing the league leaders, a team that have also come off two defeats to a French side in Europe," Townsend said. "I'm sure they will be highly motivated, they certainly were last year with memories of the game the season before when the scoreline did not really reflect the game after we got a couple of runaway tries.

"The semi-final was a cracking game for both teams. They played really well and it was decided by a point over the 80 minutes. If they play at that level again we are going to have to play some of our best rugby ever to win."

He is having to do without Stuart Hogg (knee), Alex Dunbar (concussion), Sean Maitland (leg) and Pat MacArthur (ankle) for this game, though all are expected to be fit for the opening round of the 1872 Cup next week. The other changes are all to rest players, with five of last week's starting XV dropping to the bench and only Ryan Grant of the uninjured starters from last week getting this game off.

Munster are also taking the chance to rest a few players, though they have retained most of their key men including Paul O'Connell and Conor Murray, while making eight changes from the team that won a losing bonus point in Clermont Auvergne.

"Not everyone gets a chance to play," Townsend added. "There are a couple of people in this team who are absolutely buzzing to get an opportunity. It is great when you have guys saying 'I can't wait to play, get the opportunity to get out there and use all the work I am putting in at training in a big game'. There are only 15 who do get that chance; we are lucky we have a really strong squad this week."

Glasgow Warriors: P Murchie; S Lamont, R Vernon, P Horne, D van der Merwe; F Russell, N Matawalu; G Reid, F Brown, E Murray, L Nakarawa, J Gray, R Harley, T Holmes, J Strauss (capt). Replacements: D Hall, A Allan, J Welsh, T Swinson, R Wilson, H Pyrgos, J Downey, T Seymour.

Munster: J Murphy; A Conway, P Howard, D Hurley, S Zebo; JJ Hanrahan, C Murray; J Ryan, K O'Byrne, S Archer, B Holland, P O'Connell, P O'Mahony (capt), S Dougall, R Copeland. Replacements: N Scannell, E Guinazu, BJ Botha, Donncha O'Callaghan, Dave O'Callaghan, D Williams, I Keatley, F Jones.

Referee: Leighton Hodges (Wales).