As he looked back to the same time last year it was hardly surprising that there was a trace of wistfulness about Stuart McInally’s recollection of the situation that confronted Edinburgh on the last weekend of the Pro14 regular season.

As was the case then, their meeting with Glasgow Warriors will be the last league match played, but that is where the comparison ends.

Then the match was being played in the capital, the 1872 Challenge Cup was up for grabs in what a decider, both teams knew they were safely into the knockout stages, after Ulster failed to beat Munster earlier in the day, leaving Edinburgh clear in this spot in Conference B and Glasgow having known for weeks that they were assured of a home semi-final as Conference A winners.

This time around the final derby of the season will take place in Glasgow, Edinburgh have already secured the 1872 Challenge Cup as a result of wins in both festive derbies, but they are almost certainly out of play-off contention and know they will probably need to win at Scotstoun with a bonus point just to get into the one-off play-off for a spot in next season’s Champions Cup, while Glasgow seem just as sure to need a win to ensure that they will again have home advantage in the semis.

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“It was great (last year),” said McInally. “Ulster didn’t get what they needed, so that was good fun. We could just play with no fear. This game, there’s a lot riding on it for both teams, Glasgow obviously want to get their home semi-final, we want to make sure we’re in Europe next year.”

As Edinburgh captain it would fall to the Scotland hooker to have to try to put a brave face on things should they fail in their principal objective since the authorities, in their wisdom, decided to withhold the 1872 Challenge Cup trophy presentation until after the final derby, rather than ensure that it was available to the winning team back in December.

In reality, derby rivalry will be irrelevant in the wider context of the contest, but he acknowledged that the one big plus for his side is the scheduling which means they will know exactly what is available to them and what they need to do.

“That’s never fun picking up the 1872 Cup if you’ve lost the game,” he admitted. “It has happened, when it used to be on aggregate (but) we’ve kind of forgotten this is an extra 1872 game, because there’s so much more riding on it than the cup. It’s much more than Edinburgh v Glasgow. They’re playing for the top spot in their Conference and we’re playing for fourth or third. The bragging rights is a non-issue, we both need the points badly. It’s a massive game and we know what lies on it. The good thing is that we’ll know what we need by the time we go into it (and) we’ll have plans in place whether we need to win, or whether we need a bonus point. We’ll find out on the day.”

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Familiarity may well be a contributory factor, but no team has shown better understanding of what is required to beat their neighbours than Edinburgh have demonstrated over the past few seasons, winning eight of the last 10 derbies which includes being the only away team to have won at Scotstoun in the Pro14 this season.

That potential need for a bonus point may bring a different dynamic to the encounter, then, but McInally believes they must rely on what has worked for them previously against a team that has his full respect.

“Our setpiece has to function,” said the man who is at the centre of that effort. “We have to defend really well, they’ve got one of the most dangerous attacks in the league, we’ve seen as recently as Ulster and Leinster away they’ve played some brilliant rugby. They’ve beaten these teams not by grinding it out, they blew them away. They beat Leinster at the RDS which very, very few teams do. They were excellent then and likewise when they played at home against Ulster. They’ve got such a good record at home. We just have to try and shut down their attack, they’re very good at playing when they’ve got quick ball, they run good support lines and we’re going to have make sure we get numbers on our feet in the defensive line and chop them down.”