THIS is the 19th season of the PRO14 in its various guises, and for the 18th time in those 19 seasons there will be no Scottish winner. Leinster or Ulster will produce a 12th title for Ireland when they meet in Dublin on Saturday; Wales have six victories; but Glasgow’s 2015 win remains the only time one of our two teams has triumphed.

When it comes to being runners-up - either by losing the final or, in the days of a straightforward league, finishing second - the picture is only marginally brighter. Ireland have 11 second spots, Wales four, and Scotland three - two by Glasgow and one by Edinburgh.

As we look back on the 2019-20 season - elongated in time but truncated in terms of games played - that has to be the sorry bottom line. You go into a competition with the aim of winning it, and by that measure our teams have once more underachieved.

So are there any saving graces for either side? Any indications that they are at least heading in the right direction even if they are as yet incapable of completing the journey?

In the case of the Warriors in particular, it is hard to arrive at a definitive judgement simply because of the way the season was curtailed. They finished third in Conference A, which in normal times would have put them into the quarter-finals, only this time that round was scrapped and the top two went straight to the semi-finals.

In that sense, it could be said that Danny Wilson’s team were the victims of circumstance. On the other hand, had the six remaining rounds of scheduled games been played, there was no guarantee that they would have remained third. Yes, they might have made up a six-point deficit on Ulster and finished second, thus qualifying for a home semi-final. But the Cheetahs - six points behind with two games in hand - might equally have overhauled them and taken that last play-off place instead.

In the event, Glasgow suffered largely because of a poor start to the season in which they lost four of their first five games, although they also had a couple of blips later on, notably the home loss to La Rochelle which cost them a place in the Champions Cup quarter-finals. On the whole, though, they recovered strongly from that shaky start in the league, and the now-departed head coach Dave Rennie appeared confident that they would have built on that momentum had the season gone on as intended.

Wilson, as discussed in this column last week, has identified what he believes is the Warriors’ major shortcoming - basically, a tendency to be too gung-ho when playing out of defence - and come up with a coherent plan to address it. If he succeeds, we should expect Glasgow to be up in contention for the top two places once more.

When it comes to the season just ended, however, we have to put it down as a serious disappointment from a side that reached the final in 2019. A mark of six out of ten would be about right, albeit with an asterisk to acknowledge that the league programme was incomplete.  

In contrast to the Warriors, Edinburgh made undoubted progress - just not as much as perhaps expected. It remains a moot point whether Richard Cockerill’s side would have held on to their place at the top of Conference B if the season had gone the distance, but the fact is that they were consistent enough over the piece to fend off the challenge of Munster and claim a home semi-final. They also did enough to qualify from their Challenge Cup pool, and will now go to Bordeaux on Saturday week in the quarter-finals, so their season has at least one game to go.

But unless Edinburgh actually win in Bordeaux and perhaps even go a round further to reach the final, it is probable that their 2019-20 campaign will be defined by their defeat by Ulster last weekend. After twice losing knockout matches to Munster in the two previous seasons, the time seemed right for them to prove they had learned from those chastening experiences and show they now had the mental resilience needed to win big games. Alas, their 22-19 loss to Ulster proved the opposite, as they let slip a 12-point lead to a team who, at least on a man-by-man comparison, are no more talented. Thanks to reaching that semi-final, Edinburgh’s season merits a mark of seven out of ten, going up to eight should they win the Challenge Cup.

Given that a hard-nosed winning mentality is the vital ingredient that Edinburgh need to acquire, Cockerill is clearly the best man for the job. But it is proving a tougher job than even the coach himself might have expected.