Ollie Smith holds no resentment towards Ali Price for swapping Glasgow Warriors but he expects his Scotland teammate to receive a hostile reception on his return to Scotstoun. 

Price served Glasgow with distinction for almost a decade but he completed a shock loan to their rivals last week in search of regular gametime. Warriors head coach Franco Smith confessed he didn’t want the British and Irish Lion to leave but Smith understands Price’s decision. 

The 1872 Cup doubleheader next month will see Price return home and Smith admits seeing him in Edinburgh kit feels bizarre.

“It’ll be funny seeing him when we play Edinbrugh,” Smith admitted. “I saw the pictures of him in an Edinburgh kit and it did look a bit strange. Scotstoun can be quite hostile at the best of times. When Ali gets the ball or his name is announced, I’m sure you’ll definitely hear the crowd!

“It’s the right move for him. He’s got to think of himself. He’s got a baby on the way and he wants to be playing his best rugby. I don’t blame him for making the decision. I think he will do well for Edinburgh. With all his experience with Scotland and going on a Lions tour, he’ll do well.”

Price’s move has shone the spotlight on the rivalry between Scotland’s two professional clubs. Glasgow insisted Price’s exit was ‘in the national interest’ but some Warriors fans have questioned how it benefits them. 

Both clubs are controlled by the SRU with the governing body instrumental in facilitating the deal. It would be inconceivable for a player to move between rivals in other sports - like Rangers and Celtic - and Smith concedes it’s an unusual dynamic with so many players from both squads also international teammates. 

“It’s a strange one,” he admitted. “We do obviously spend so much time together with Scotland. I probably never appreciated it (the rivalry) until the game at Murrayfield last season.

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“You’re obviously mates with each other, but you do give each other a bit of chat to try and get into each other’s head. There is still that niggle about it and you want to win, but as soon as the game’s over it’s a case of shaking hands and back to being good mates. It’s maybe just mental warfare more than anything.”

While Glasgow will be aiming to claim the bragging rights over their rivals again this season, Smith is full of admiration for some of Edinburgh’s star players. 

The full-back is in competition with Blair Kinghorn for a starting berth under Scotland boss Gregor Townsend and he rates fellow international colleagues Duhan van der Merwe and Darcy Graham amongst the world’s best. 

“It’s a special group we’ve got at the moment,” Smith admitted on Scotland’s back-three options. “Guys like Duhan and Darcy – two of the best wingers in the world at the moment. Blair also has massive experience now. To compete with these guys is pretty cool.”

It’s been a breakthrough 12 months for Smith on the international scene. After making his Scotland debut against Argentina last summer, the Prestwick-born back was named in Townsend’s squad for the World Cup in France. 

Smith featured in every Scotland game, except against Tonga, as Townsend’s side exited an incredibly tough pool, including Ireland and eventual winners South Africa. Smith never expected to play so regularly but he created memories that will live with him forever.

“Yeah, I loved the experience overall,” Smith admitted. “It’s a weird one because you spend so much time in pre-season getting ready for the World Cup. You then go away for a couple of months, so it’s only now that you really have a chance to reflect on the whole experience.

“I was maybe involved in more games than I thought I would be going into the tournament. I was involved in all four warm-up games, then only missed the Tonga games in terms of the tournament itself. So I played quite a fair bit. 

“It’s nice to have that trust and respect from the coaches to pick you against teams like South Africa and Ireland. It gives you confidence when they back you to go up against some of the best teams in the world.

“Being involved in the South Africa game was really cool and playing in that stadium in Marseille. It’s a special stadium and it was a pretty hostile atmosphere. Playing at the Stade de France as well. I had been a spectator there before, so it was pretty special to actually get out there and play. I’m still fairly young, so to experience that at my first World Cup is something I won’t forget.”

Smith was involved in a major flashpoint in Scotland’s decider against Ireland when he was sinned for a trip on Johnny Sexton. It sparked a flare-up between both sides with Pierre Schoeman sending Dan Sheehan flying over the advertising boards.

“It was a bit of a brainfart moment from me,” Smith reflected. “I didn’t even think it was going to be a yellow card if I’m honest. It did kind of kick off a bit. I didn’t really expect it to kick off that much.

“As I was walking away, I just felt someone come behind me and go into Johnny Sexton. I was like: “Oh, alright, we’re in this now”. It was handbags, really. Then you see Schoeman and one of the Ireland boys go flying over an advertising board. The boys got pretty pumped up. I apologised to Sexton and the ref. It was a stupid playground move from me. But it is what it is.”