Glasgow have exceeded pretty much all expectations this season –their own, perhaps, included – to finish fourth in the URC and reach Friday’s Challenge Cup final against Toulon.

After their dismal end to the previous campaign, it was reasonable to expect that the Warriors, and their new head coach Franco Smith, would need to improve steadily rather than rapidly before getting anywhere close to competing for silverware.

That is what happened the last time the team won a major trophy, the PRO12 in 2015, when the triumph was the culmination of a long, incremental improvement. Losing semi-finalists in 2012 and 2013, they then got to the final in 2014 only to lose again, before at last going one better the following year.

Perhaps because their progress this year has, by contrast, been so quick, the current squad have paid little attention to the achievements of their predecessors eight years ago as they prepare for the showdown in Dublin.

What they have focused on, according to lock forward Scott Cummings, is the fact that, no matter how much they have already achieved this season, at present they have nothing tangible to show for it.

“It’s not so much talked about,” Cummings said when asked about that 2015 victory. “That was quite a while back, eight years now, so it’s not something we’re trying to draw comparisons to or anything.

“But we do talk about the effort we’ve put in throughout the year and having something to show for that. Franco has always said ‘You’ve not won anything yet’, and we haven’t. We want to come home with a bit of silverware. That’s the most important part.”

The Warriors’ last outing, the URC quarter-final defeat at home to Munster, was certainly a sobering reminder of the fact that they have yet to win anything.

But while the 14-5 loss was clearly a severe disappointment, the positive aspect of it was the fact that the squad were able to find some time to rest last week instead of preparing for a semi-final.

“We weren’t in until the later end of the week, so it was good to get the first half of the week off,” Cummings said.

“A lot of the guys had pretty sore bodies after the Munster game, so having those couple of extra days definitely meant we came into the tail-end of the week firing a bit more.

“It’s the first time we’ve reached a European final. It’s a massive, exciting occasion. As much as we need to stay calm and composed, we want to build that excitement throughout the week. There’s no point letting opportunities like that go to waste. It’s exciting being in the final, so we’re going to live that throughout the week.

“We’re still sticking to our processes, the same sort of sessions are still happening. Not a lot is changing, we’re sticking to what we do normally, but obviously there is that added wee bit of excitement going about.”

While the match at the Aviva Stadium is an exciting prospect in itself, there is another factor adding to the anticipation for Cummings and his colleagues this week – namely, their uncertainty about who will actually play in the final.

By getting players fitter and more motivated, Smith has managed to deepen the squad, to the extent that few of its members can be sure of their places in the starting line-up on Friday. And while the greater internal competition has been one driver of progress, the support in the build-up from those players who are not taking part in the match – the so-called non-23 – has been just as important.

“The squad’s great, and I think we’ve talked of that all year, that the squad effort is going to be what wins us it. Obviously only 15, 23 get out on the Saturday, but it’s what people are doing throughout the week, what the non-23 are doing, showing the right pictures, that sort of stuff.

“Yeah, only 23 get to play, but it really matters what everyone does off the field. All 50 people are definitely trying to do what they can do to put the team forward.”

Toulon may have lost all four of the Challenge Cup finals they have been in, but they have also won the Champions Cup three times, and will be firm favourites to win on Friday. For Cummings, that only adds to the excitement.

“With it being a final, you’re playing the top teams. Toulon have won a lot in Europe in the past and they’re trying to build their own new legacy just now as well. They’ve got a pretty star-studded team, with a lot of really good-quality players littered in the pack and in the backs. But we’re excited for the challenge and just can’t wait to rip into it.”