GETTING your timing right having always been a key factor in sporting success, Tim Swinson could not have done that better in terms of playing his part in Scotland’s Calcutta Cup victory last weekend.

Sidelined for four months as a result of surgery on a finger after he was injured during Scotland’s defeat of Samoa, the lock made a sufficiently impressive comeback for Glasgow Warriors when they beat South Africa’s Cheetahs in mid-February, to earn an immediate recall to the Test arena.

As the 31-year-old acknowledged, it was a considerable vote of confidence in him, given that Ben Toolis, the man he replaced in Scotland’s matchday 23, had been in the starting XV when the Six Nations Championship got underway and played a part in the victory over France that got the team back on track after the drubbing they received in Cardiff on the opening day.

“I’m exceptionally lucky,” he said. “I managed to return from my injury a couple of weeks early to play for Glasgow against the Cheetahs and played quite well there.

“It gave me a lot of confidence that I was put back on to the bench, which is no mean feat considering the team’s been playing so well, especially in the game against France, but it was a fantastic game to be involved in.

“As a game to go into there was a little bit of pressure, but it’s easy, good to get stuck into.

“You know they’re going to be physical and that’s something I seem to do quite well at.

“I got chucked on quite late on, but I’ve had caps a lot shorter than that. It was great to play and be involved in a small part.”

As one of those who has been on the wrong end of some painful defeats at the hands of England, including the 61-21 mauling at Twickenham last year, he was grateful for the opportunity and, as one who has made a fair few appearances as what is now routinely referred to as an impact replacement, he admitted there had been an extra edge this time around.

“What made it slightly more intense is the history of the fixture and last year’s result which a few of the guys were playing in which wasn’t very good for Scotland. I think that was my fifth Calcutta Cup game and the other four didn’t go as well as the weekend,” he pointed out.

“But with the positivity that’s in the squad and feeds our record at Murrayfield at the moment as a national side, things are definitely moving forward and moving up.

“That’s what we’ve got to focus on, that we’re not the finished article by any means, but we’re definitely showing some really good signs and that’s something we’ve got to work on as a squad.”

“It was a really fantastic feeling to get the hands on the cup, get a photo with the cup. It was a squad effort. You can’t quite explain how much of a squad the Scotland team is at the moment.

“There’s a group of guys, not just the 23 but the 32, 35 that were in camp, even the guys that have been involved during the mini-camps throughout the season, we’re really all pulling the same way and everyone wants the same thing. I think the coaches have a hard task in picking players each week, and I was lucky enough to get picked against England.”

And yet that spirit of national togetherness lasted only as long it took to change the subject back to the prospect of the Glasgow Warriors side he had been set to return to this week, with the prospect of doing Scottish neighbours Edinburgh a favour by beating their PRO14 Conference B rivals Ulster.

“We’re focusing on Glasgow,” he replied, tersely and emphatically.

What about all this ‘AsOne’ business, I prompted.

“In a blue shirt,” he replied.

Which is exactly how it should be… best of friends when in common cause, biggest of rivals at pro team level, however any prospect of that happening was denied last night when it was announced that the Warriors’ trip to Belfast’s Kingspan Stadium had become a victim of a different kind of foe from the east as the unusual, but highly understandable decision was taken to cancel a match three days in advance.

A statement issued by Pro14 organisers last night said that: “The decision was made after consultation with both clubs because of the severe weather warnings in place across Ireland and the UK.

“The health and safety of supporters, players and staff is paramount when considering the postponement of a fixture,” it continued.

“Glasgow Airport has experienced significant disruptions (including closure) due to extreme weather and with further inclement conditions forecast for Friday night in Belfast, those travelling to the stadium would likely be exposed to hazardous conditions which raise welfare concerns.

“It is in the best interests of the players, staff and supporters of both clubs to postpone the fixture until the weekend of 20/21/22 April.

“Details about kick-off time and exact date will be released in due course.

“Ulster rugby have asked supporters to retain their tickets as they will be valid for the rearranged game. Ticket purchasers will receive information regarding refunds from Ulster Rugby.”