Glasgow are trying to cultivate a party atmosphere ahead of the deciding 1872 Cup fixture. On New Year’s Day there will be a George Square party, situated at the Winter Cafe Bar, and good vibes will be pumped out through player appearances (before 4pm), tunes and a wee swally.
Glasgow are trying to imbue positivity. Drink and dancing are just added extras.
You can understand why they are doing this. Scrambling around for much of the last game, they kept in touch with Edinburgh and even had a chance to snatch an unlikely victory from the jaws of another deadlock. They have ridden their luck this season and have had three draws in their last four games. They are a side unaccustomed to losing, but incapable of convincingly killing off teams.
In fact as Glaswegians and Edinburghers alike mingle and toast the New Year –a first footing amidst comfortable rivals – Sean Lineen may well be in the patent office pushing forth a manuscript on the ‘Glasgow Try’. Every time the Firhill mob cling to a game there is a feeling that they will score an imagination wrenching try pulled out of the ether. Lineen and his defence coach Gary Mercer are always pleased with their tenacity, but neither could have foreseen Gray’s charged down try against Bath, Wight’s gambling dive and steal against the Dragons or Jackson’s try from chasing a dropped bomb on Monday night.
Glasgow will hound you to the ends of the turf.
Glasgow’s fans are more than aware of this, which is why their confidence is swirling around the stratosphere right now. Their team is not playing amazing rugby, but they are not losing either. Edinburgh’s management will be hard on themselves over defensive errors and a below par showing in the set-piece but will still think they can get a win.
It is true that Glasgow have won their last five games at Firhill, but they have also lost to Aironi there and the 1872 Cup is a great leveller. Just look at the draw last weekend. The crowd will be in good voice. There may be some booze-soaked jeers and there may be piques of hostility at points, but the atmosphere will be heavy and frenetic. Both sides stand a chance and perhaps Bradley and his boys may enjoy the underdog tag going into this one. Especially when you look at the team selected below, reminiscent of the team sent on a suicide mission to Munster a few weeks back.
Tickets are running out, with less than 20% left. Glasgow are waiting and their fans are warming up their throats. How will Edinburgh respond? They haven’t ever won at Firhill and they haven’t won in Glasgow since 2004. Edinburgh usually have enough firepower to score away from home, however it looks like coach Bradley is also prioritising the tougher league and Heineken Cup obligations coming up with this team; gone are Visser, De Luca, Laidlaw, Paterson, Ford, Chunk, Cross, Cox, Denton and Roddy Grant. When faced with adversity, Edinburgh tend to blurt out the motto “Up the tempo boys!”.
But can this new lot hack the pace a full strength Glasgow are likely to set?
All images courtesy of the SRU and PA.
Glasgow: Peter Murchie, David Lemi, Stuart Hogg, Graeme Morrison, Colin Shaw, Duncan Weir, Chris Cusiter, Jon Welsh, Dougie Hall, Moray Low, Richie Gray, Al Kellock (captain), Rob Harley, Chris Fusaro, Ryan Wilson
Replacements: Pat MacArthur, Ed Kalman, Mike Cusack, Tom Ryder, John Barclay, Henry Pygros, Ruaridh Jackson, Troy Nathan
Edinburgh: Jim Thompson, Simon Webster, Matt Scott, John Houston, Tom Brown, Phil Godman (captain), Chris Leck, Kyle Traynor, Andrew Kelly, Jack Gilding, Steven Turnbull, Esteban Lozada, Stuart McInally, Alan MacDonald, Netani Talei
Replacements: Alun Walker, Robin Hislop, Lewis Niven, Grant Gilchrist, Ross Rennie, Mike Blair, Harry Leonard, Lee Jones