A GLANCE at the PRO14 Conference tables suggests that Edinburgh and Glasgow have had similar seasons so far. Similarly miserable seasons, that is, with just two wins apiece to date.

But, if the most recent match played by either side is any guide - in both cases, a Champions Cup fixture - the teams are in fact in very different states of repair. And that will surely influence the deliberations of their respective coaches as they prepare for the first derby of the season at Murrayfield on Saturday. 

By the time they travel to the capital, Glasgow will have spent almost three weeks without a game, a consequence of the enforced cancellation and postponement, respectively, of their Champions Cup match against Lyon and their home game against Edinburgh. That has left them an unusually long time to lick their wounds after their last outing, the 42-0 European humiliation by Exeter Chiefs.

After defeats of that magnitude, teams tend to be desperate for their next match to come along as quickly as possible and give them a chance to put right what went wrong. The Warriors have been denied that chance, although it should be said that they may well have needed their three-week break in which to come to terms with their loss at Sandy Park.

Being beaten by the English and European champions is no disgrace in itself, but the scale of the defeat has to be of real concern to Glasgow coach Danny Wilson. In the Champions Cup pool stages against the same opponents last season, their final one under Dave Rennie, the Warriors lost 34-18 in Exeter and drew 31-31 at home. To go from those scores to 42-0 represents a significant slump.

And what makes that result all the more ignominious is the fact that at no point did Glasgow look like they had given up. If they had, the result would have been something far closer to the nadir of their existence as a professional team, the 90-19 defeat by Leicester way back in 1997. Instead, they fought all the way to at least limit the damage - which may be heartening in terms of the team spirit shown, but ultimately has to be a worry, especially as Wilson had his Scotland internationals available again after the Autumn Nations Cup.

Granted, significant injuries continue to hamper the head coach’s hopes of getting his best team on the park for a run of games, and the absence of locks Richie Gray and Leone Nakarawa has been a particular blow. While the Fijian probably has two or three more weeks on the sidelines following injury, Gray could make his return at Murrayfield, but it would be a mistake to expect one player alone to have a transformative effect on a team that has not so much lost its way as never found it this season.

At half-time in their own last outing of the year, Edinburgh seemed to be in a similarly ragged state to Glasgow. Twelve-nil down at Sale, they were hanging on and no more. But they turned things round in inspired fashion in the second half, going on to win 16-15, a result that gives them something to play for when the Champions Cup pool stage resumes next month. 

So do those two contrasting results mean that Edinburgh are sure to beat their Scottish rivals on Saturday? Of course they don’t. The fact that the two sets of players know each other so well is one reason why form is not an accurate guide to the outcome, as is the focus by some on individual battles - a factor which militates against a cohesive team approach.

Yet, although it would not be a shock if the Warriors travelled home along the M8 with a win in the bag, it appears right now that they will need a lot more than one victory to rekindle the spirit that we used to take for granted in them. Similarly, a defeat for Edinburgh - unless by an implausibly heavy margin - would not be of earth-shattering consequence. 

Halfway through what we now know will be a truncated PRO14 season, Richard Cockerill’s team are regaining the combative edge that has seen them make such progress under the Englishman over the past three years. It is an edge that Wilson’s squad need to find quickly if they are to salvage anything from this campaign.