There is, admits Grant Gilchrist, something just a little bit different when Edinburgh Rugby face their great rivals, Glasgow Warriors.

Over the next two weekends, Edinburgh and Glasgow will face off in their traditional Christmas double-header, with Gilchrist going into his eighth year of the clash.

“Every game we treat the same but there is a special feeling to big games,” the lock said.

“I love the derby games as they’re always intense and physical. You know you are going to be in for a battle.

“They're always the ones that everybody wants to play in so there'll be extra competition amongst the squad. And I'm sure Cockers (head coach Richard Cockerill) will have a bit of extra spice to him!”

The first game in this year’s 1872 Cup is on Saturday at Scotstoun, while the reverse fixture is the following Saturday at Murrayfield.

Edinburgh go in as favourites as not only have they been in the better form of the two teams this season, they appear to have something of an Indian sign over their rivals with the capital club having won four out of the last five 1872 Cups.

However, Gilchrist is far too experienced to get complacent.

“They have all been close games although we took a bit of a hiding over there the last game of the season (which Glasgow won 34-10),” said Gilchrist as the Edinburgh players paid a visit to Edinburgh Sick Kids Hospital.

“Recent history shows we have done well but in our last derby game we were not at our best. If we get it right, we can win but if we don’t, Glasgow are a dangerous side."

Gilchrist has no shortage of memories of facing Warriors, with his debut in the clash being Christmas 2011. That game finished in a 23-23 draw at Murrayfield but his real stand-out memory of the fixture is from two years ago, when Edinburgh went down to 14 men after only six minutes when Simon Berghan got red-carded for stamping on Fraser Brown at Murrayfield. However, Edinburgh battled through to win 18-17 and that will stick long in Gilchrist’s memory.

“We conceded a try in the first minute and Glasgow had won every game of the season up until that point so they were on incredible form. We lost a man and you could hear in the crowd that they thought it was going to be a hammering but we got stuck in,” he said.

“It was just pure guts. If Glasgow played better, they would have won that game but we showed a lot of heart, a lot of character, and that's one that will stick with me until the end of my career - guys just dogging it out.

“We got our opportunity at the end and we took it. To win that game was really special.”

Gilchrist was a part of the Scotland squad that performed so disappointingly at the World Cup in Japan this summer and while he has, by and large, put that disappointment to one side, he admitted the memories of it are still present and serve to motivate him as the club season progresses. The excellent form of his club side has helped him be able to put international matters on the back burner though.

“Japan still frustrates me a bit,” he said.

“It’s there as a driver to make sure that individually, I’m better than I was in Japan. We’ve been going well (at Edinburgh) and we’ve had good results. We’re building something here. We’re not getting ahead of ourselves but it’s a good place to be.”

At 29-years-old, Gilchrist is one of the more experienced players in the Edinburgh dressing room, especially when it comes to derby games. He is, he reluctantly admits, starting to feel old in the dressing room but he is keen to use that experience to ensure his teammates do not let the emotions of the occasion go to their heads.

“Looking around the changing room now it does make me feel old - it seems just a few seconds ago it was my first derby game. I was the youngster with the Chunks (Allan Jacobsen) and Fordys (Ross Ford) of this world showing me the ropes,” he said.

“It is now different and although I’m not the oldest, I’m knocking on the door.

“It is good to play on the emotions of a derby. Both teams are highly motivated and the emotional side of the game helps you then that’s good. It is the play makers and the thinkers of the team that need to keep the head and make sure we stick to our game plan as that will be important against Glasgow.”