Richard Cockerill allowed ­himself a few smiles last night having seen his side thump Toulon, a team previously coached by the former England hooker.

Some might speculate the ­Edinburgh coach’s grin could have been induced by the sweet taste of revenge.

It is more likely because a professional job done on the three-times former European Cup winners has left Edinburgh a win away from the last eight of the Heineken Champions Cup.

Edinburgh, group leaders on 19 points, could – depending on various permutations – still reach the quarter-finals with that tally. ­Cockerill, however, wants his side to complete the job on

Friday at Murrayfield against Montpellier.

“We haven’t qualified yet. I want to win next week. I want to try to have a home quarter-final,” said Cockerill after an emphatic win.

“We’ll enjoy the feeling of satisfaction of winning here, but we’ve still got a lot to do. We’ve just got to keep improving.”

Cockerill exuded confidence ahead of this game, positive his side could gain a result.

But few, if any, saw it being as dominant as it turned out. And, to that end, Cockerill was quick to heap praise on his team, especially their display after the interval.

“Credit to the players. We came with a plan. We knew we had to stick to the plan.

“We invited them (Toulon) into our half a little bit in that first half and they punished us, but the way we played and controlled the game in that second half was probably as best we’ve played,” said Cockerill, whose half-time message was measured and simple.

“We just said don’t give silly penalties away, control the ball.

“We knew if we put them under pressure we would have opportunities. And, to be fair to the lads, they took them.

“I thought we controlled the second half from start to finish and credit to the players. They should take a huge amount of pride around what they’ve done today.

“It puts us in a great position to qualify. People travelled to watch us. We’ve got a crowd chanting our name, and it’s a club that’s growing slowly.”

If Edinburgh played like a team then the same can’t be said for Toulon, who were, at best, a disjointed collection of star names.

Welsh scrum-half Rhys Webb offered few excuses.

He said: “We started well and played some good rugby and controlled the game. Basically we just didn’t come out the blocks in the second half.

“Credit to Edinburgh. They controlled the game second-half and we just couldn’t get a foot in the game. To beat a team like Edinburgh, you have to play for the full 80 minutes and obviously we just didn’t do that today.”

Friday evening at Murrayfield is guaranteed to be special when ­Edinburgh – semi-finalist back in 2012 – can clinch that knockout spot by seeing off Montpellier.

But yesterday, the Top14 outfit showed they won’t be easy touches after demolishing Newcastle Falcons seven tries to one.

Those who were willing Falcons to produce an unexpected victory over in France were probably hanging on to the notion their dream just might be realised as the Premiership outfit trailed Vern Cotter’s men by just 12-3 at half-time, the Falcons line breached by Timoci Nagusa and centre Yvan Reilhac.

However, after interval, Montpellier cut loose, with the Falcons ­defence overrun.

Paul Willemse, an addition to the French Six Nations squad, scored as the home pack began to dominate.

The French were equally clinical behind the scrum, winger Henry Immelman securing a brace of tries, either side of Nico Janse van Rensburg’s score, with Romain Ruffenach rounding off the seven-try rout to take a 45-8 win, Falcons’ only try coming from Zach Kibirige in the closing minutes.

It was job done for former Scotland coach Cotter, who knows that, despite the emphatic nature of yesterday’s victory, a bigger test awaits at his one-time stomping ground of Murrayfield.

Describing the Newcastle match as “a cleaver game”, Cotter praised his players, but demanded a similar effort on Scottish shores.

“I’m happy with the reaction of the players. They have prepared well for this (Falcons) match, they have been serious, and the five points are a fair reward for all this investment.

“Now, there is quarter-final to play for in Edinburgh.

“It’s a good thing for our team. But Murrayfield is another ­appointment. Even if we were good in the rucks against Newcastle, it will be necessary to raise the tone because Edinburgh is really strong in this field.”