HIS men may form the invading force at Scotstoun today, but Richard Cockerill is doing all he can to whip up a siege mentality in his squad as they seek to register a win that will see them reclaim the 1872 Challenge Cup.

“I get a little bit frustrated that it was all about how poorly they played that let us win,” he said yesterday. “I thought we played very well – I disagree that we dragged them into an arm-wrestle. I thought we did our bits pretty well.”

In fairness, generating righteous indignation is not something that seems alien to Cockerill. The observation by Dave Rennie, his Warriors counterpart, that he expected Glasgow to be dominant in the scrums – an area of particular interest to Cockerill – was, then, something of a gift.

“Well, they should really shouldn’t they? Because they’re not missing anybody and we’re missing six international props and the most-capped hooker in Scottish history,” Cockerill observed drily, his team selection having revealed that Rory Sutherland has joined their long list of injured front-row forwards. “But we’ll see,” he added.

“Murray McCallum has done a really good job on both sides. Matt Shields is obviously new to the club – he’s been here four weeks – and has come from the bottom club in the Championship in England and we’ve got two relative unknowns on the bench. So yeah, they should beat us in the scrum – but we’ll see. I like the challenge.”

Doesn’t he just, extra weight having been placed on the words “we’ll see” both times he used them.

As is the way with these things, Cockerill appears to have engaged in some selective reading since 14-man Edinburgh came from 11 points behind in the final quarter at Murrayfield to claim an astonishing 18-17 win last weekend, choosing to focus on criticism of the opposition rather than the praise directed at his players.

“From reading all their press they say they’re embarrassed from their performance – I think we can play a lot better as well. The pressure’s on them to perform,” he said.

As well as being forced into bringing inexperienced props Murray McCallum and Matt Shields into the starting line-up, Cockerill has recalled Jamie Ritchie to his back row and Damien Hoyland on the wing, both of whom have performed well this season.

Glasgow have, meanwhile, responded to losing their unbeaten league record to a team down to 14 men by making changes in every department except the front row.

The need to give Tommy Seymour’s toe a chance to recover properly from the damage done to it during the autumn Tests and to rest young lock Scott Cummings, one of last week’s try-scorers, are contributory factors.

However, a shake-up that includes Scotland centre Huw Jones being dropped to the bench was in order and, after disappointing performances in the early part of December, Finn Russell is given an opportunity at stand-off to provide a reminder of why Racing Metro made him an offer he could not refuse for next season.

Rennie said: “Finn is a starting international 10. When the game breaks up he is lethal. He did a couple of things last the weekend which meant we should have stolen the game but we didn’t.

Rennie acknowledged that Peter Horne whom he has identified as a potential long-term replacement play-maker for his international colleague, had made some poor decisions last weekend.

On the face of it, there was no disagreement from Cockerill about the potential difference Russell’s recall could make.

“Obviously they’ve made some changes, specially at 10, which makes a difference to the threat,” he said.

“I think Finn’s a world-class player, and when the ball’s in his hands he’s a threat to any defence.”

However, as badly as Glasgow failed to capitalise on their man advantage, they were winning the match before Russell was brought on at Murrayfield, but failed to go on and clinch the victory, while the way Russell seeks to play the game can put pressure on his team as well as the opposition – something Cockerill seemed to allude to.

“They’re a good side who will do damage against any side, but they do turn the ball over more than any side in the competition, so that wasn’t unique to last weekend,” he observed waspishly, before noting: “They’ve got no God-given right to win because they’re Glasgow.”

No team has done a better job of demonstrating that in recent years than the opponents who know Glasgow best, five Edinburgh wins in the last six matches representing a curious statistic to set alongside Cockerill’s contention that: “They’re a better team than us, they’ve consistently shown that, but we proved last week that we’re a good enough side to stay in the battle and that we’re a good enough side if you don’t put us away to win the game.”

All of which pretty much ties in with most of the post-match analysis that was offered last weekend, but acknowledging that clearly would not serve Cockerill’s purpose as he seeks to persuade his players that they still have a point to prove today.