Champions Cup memories help fuel Scott Cummings’ enthusiasm as Glasgow Warriors prepare to return to the tournament after a season’s absence.

Northampton Saints are the visitors to Scotstoun on Friday night, sparking recall in Cummings’ mind of a remarkable contest between the sides a decade ago when Pete Horne zipped through a tiring defence to score a stunning try and win the game in the dying seconds.

Cummings was just a teenage supporter at that time, watching at home on television as Warriors won their first Champions Cup game of that season.

He would get to experience it for himself a few years later, at Kilmarnock’s Rugby Park of all places, when Warriors decanted to Ayrshire to take on Racing Metro with Scotstoun submerged after a deluge.

Glasgow made the most of missing out on last year’s Champions Cup by reaching the Challenge Cup final but Cummings admits there is nothing quite like rugby’s premier event.

“It is a massive competition and we’re excited to be taking on Northampton,” he said. “I can still remember when Pete Horne scored 10-odd years ago against them. I was just a fan at that point as I remember watching it on TV. It must have been around 2013 which was when I was starting to follow Glasgow properly at that point. 

“My earliest memory playing is against Racing Metro down in Kilmarnock and since then we’ve had mixed success in Europe over the years. We have made a couple of quarter finals but haven’t been able to push on as much as we would have wanted to.

“We are excited about being back in the Champions Cup. There are some tough games for us in the pool stage but we are confident we can get results and push for qualification. There have been some big moments at Scotstoun and we’re excited to go against Northampton.”

The Premiership side journey north fresh from an away win at Saracens but home advantage can’t be discounted, not when Warriors have been beaten just once in front of their own fans in nearly two years.

“We always love playing at home, whether that is the Champions Cup or in the URC,” added Cummings. “The crowd gets behind us and we’ve tried to make Scotstoun as much of a fortress as best we can by not losing games.

“We’ve had some pretty big wins here over the past few years, including a couple over Exeter. Quite a few teams have come here thinking they can win but we have put good results on them.

“There is so much rivalry against the URC teams as we play them often so the Champions Cup just offers something different. They are big physical teams that play a different style that we are maybe not used to in the URC. It is a different challenge but one we are excited for.”

Warriors, though, will need to tighten up defensively if they are to stand a chance after a poor showing away to Munster.

Scoring five maul tries was the positive but conceding six on the back of poor discipline was Glasgow’s downfall in Cork.

“It was tough the way the game went,” admitted Cummings. “We didn’t turn up those first 15 to 20 minutes and gave away far too many penalties. That meant the ref was on our backs a lot. We have to take learnings from that.

“The start was tough which meant we were chasing the game. We were happy with the maul tries. That is something we pride ourselves on, strong maul, strong line-out, strong set-piece.

“We were happy with that area but must improve in others. Before the game you would say five tries would be enough to win away to Munster but they scored more than us.

“We weren’t clicking in a few areas. It was not the performance we were looking to put out there. There are learnings to be taken from that we will try to adapt from.”

Pete Horne won’t be around to help on this occasion having recently accepted a post to move from Glasgow’s coaching staff to join Scotland’s on a full-time basis.

“Pete is a great coach,” added Cummings. “I played with him many times before he retired. Having him here, last season especially, was great. He brought good energy and got buy-in from the players. It is easy to work hard for him.

“He gets you excited to go out, train and do drills as sometimes that is tough as you are training every single day. He is one of the best coaches I have had in that sense and it is great to see him getting the Scotland job. He did great work in the World Cup and can build on that. He is a great guy and a loyal club man so it is great to see him push on and have coaching success.”