THE game may have been cut short by an emergency evacuation of the DAM Health Stadium, but Edinburgh head coach Mike Blair saw enough during the 74 minutes of the pre-season match against London Scottish on Friday night to be in no doubt that there is a lot of work still to do to be ready for the start of the league season in a fortnight.

A fire alarm which was accidentally set off by a spectator meant the game ended a 34-26 loss for Edinburgh, which will not make or break their season, but it is a concern given that their opponents are part-time professionals who finished bottom of the second tier English Championship last season with one win and one draw from 20 matches.

“I’m certainly disappointed and frustrated,” Blair said. “We felt we were in a good place going into the game, we felt that we’d stretched the guys a lot during pre-season with the training we’ve been doing, and I guess when it comes to a game like that when it is full-on and there’s all sorts going on around you, that’s when you need composure.

“I thought at times we lacked a little bit of that composure, and whether that was through having not played in a while, or guys trying to push their individual cases rather than making decisions for the benefit of the team, I’m not too sure.

“There’s lots of stuff to come out of that which is going to make us better going into the season, and I guess that’s what the point of pre-season is – but at the same time you don’t want to lose 34 points at home.”

On the plus side, there was no new injury concerns from the match, with key man Jamie Ritchie making it through his comeback after seven months out with a hamstring injury.

It was also pleasing that several academy and Super6 prospects got their first taste of rugby at this level and did not look out of place, including 22-year-old winger Jake Henry who marked his debut with a well-taken try.

“We obviously mixed and matched the team a fair amount,” added Blair. “With Jamie Ritchie, we just wanted to give him 30 minutes of rugby after his seven-month injury. It was similar thinking with Chris Dean and Angus Williams who came off early.

“We wanted to give a decent amount of people that opportunity to show what they can do, to see how they fit within what we’re trying to do, to see what lessons they’ve learned through pre-season, and how we’re able to put that on the pitch.

“We definitely wanted to win it, and we’re disappointed that the score-line was like that, but at the same time if that means we really hit our straps at the start of the season when the games count then so be it.”

In fairness to Edinburgh, London Scottish have recruited well over the summer and are expected to be much more competitive in the Championship this season. The visitors were also a week further down the road to being battle-hardened for the season ahead having already had a hit-out against Harlequins.

“I thought they were excellent tonight,” agreed Blair. “I was really impressed with them. We spoke after the game about physicality and intensity, and we got beat in all areas, both sides of the ball. And I thought they were very clinical when they got their opportunities as well.

“But we should have enough in the tank to beat a team who are playing in the Championship. They played well but we’ve got to have high expectations of what we’re trying to do, and even if you take the score-line out of it we didn’t show our true selves tonight.

“There were too many errors. We were over-committing at breakdowns. We just lacked a bit of sharpness and there is no doubt that we’re going to be a lot better for it.

“In a sick kind of way, I’m pleased that we’ve had this at this stage because it really re-set things. There is a lot of positive noises coming out the club about some of the environment and culture stuff, and rightly so, but that was a reminder that if you don’t turn up at the weekend and bring physicality in order to look after the ball then you are not going to win rugby matches.”

Edinburgh play their second and final pre-season match away to Benetton on Friday.