PETE HORNE has backed his protégé Ross Thompson to bounce back after the tyro stand-off experienced his first real setback in professional rugby during Glasgow Warriors’ heavy defeat to Benetton Treviso two weekends ago. 

22-year-old Thompson was far from chief culprit as Warriors fell apart against the Italians but struggled to get the game back under control after a disastrous start, and it was only when veteran Ian Keatley took over with half an hour left that Warriors managed to get a foothold in the game. 

“Ross is doing all right,” insisted 31-year-old Horne, who previously coached Thompson at club level with Glasgow Hawks, and has now taken the youngster under his wing at Scotstoun. “I spoke to him straight after the game and said: 'Look, we all have days like that'. 

“With the nature of his position he will come under the spotlight a lot more, but he seemed in a pretty good place. He made a couple of mistakes and decision-making errors but it's nothing he can't fix, and it's probably the first time he has really come under the pump so it's good that it happened over in Treviso in a game where there is not too much on the line. 

“He will learn so much more from a game like that. I have been in games in similar positions where it gets to the point you are thinking: 'If I pass it, people are dropping it; if I kick it, they are running it back; what should I do?’  

“You kind of lose sight, you start worrying about things rather than narrowing your focus on the next job. It is sometimes just a case of doing something simple like recalling a play that you really like and going with that, to just try to get a bit of confidence back. 

“That's professional rugby in a nutshell, it's a bit of a rollercoaster. The highs are obviously great, and I think sometimes when a player first break on to the scene and everything goes for him then you have got to let him ride with that. But you see the character of the person when all of a sudden you have a couple of tough games or when something doesn't go your way. 

“Ross is a smart kid, it's not like he is 18 or 19 and has the world at his feet,” Horne added. “He has had to be patient and go through various phases of his career just to get his shot. He has done his time at club level, he has played his under-20s, went back and had a great year with Ayrshire Bulls in Super6 last year, and he didn't have a sniff for Warriors the first couple of months of this season. So, it's not like it has just been handed on a plate, he has always had to work really hard for it, and that will make it easier to bounce back when something doesn't go his way. 

“He trained really well last week and was honest in the team reviews about a couple of things he could have done better. He is very much looking to bounce back, and I have got no doubt that he will against Edinburgh this weekend.”