FROM being a bit-part player with no lines to speak for Glasgow just a year or so ago, Gordon Reid now finds himself starting for Scotland in Vern Cotter’s first-ever test team. He has come a long way from the barman and French polisher who did odd jobs to keep body and soul together. Now Reid is paid to take his opposition prop’s body and soul apart.
“I found out yesterday when the team was announced and, obviously, I was over the moon to be starting for my country,” said the former Ayr prop.
“I was just there playing for Glasgow week in and week out and trying to be the best I could be and I get a call up for Scotland. It’s absolutely fantastic, it’s the cherry on the cake.”
Reid is one of several players who contested finals just last weekend for Glasgow alongside Finn Russell, Sean Maitland and Sean Lamont, while Richie Gray turned out for Castres, who lost the Top 14 final to Toulon.
But it must take its toll on the body and the mind having played such a demanding match so recently?
“I feel great,” Reid insisted. “I have to admit the travel and trying to get sleep obviously [is difficult] because of the time difference, but we’re professional rugby players and this is what we do for a living and we have to overcome these situations. But all the boys feel great. They are buzzing for this game, it’s a big honour to be here for Scotland and everyone is raring to go for this game.
“The league [final] is totally different. When you step up to play for Scotland it gives you a shake, you have to step up even more now, you’re playing for your country and a lot of people are depending upon us. So you just shake it off and you move on.”
Reid did come close to a Test cap once before. He was on the bench for Andy Robinson’s last Scotland squad, which lost to Tonga in Aberdeen. He didn’t get onto the Pittodrie field that day which, given the result, may not be a bad thing.
If Aberdeen in November was a bit on the chilly side for the poor Tongans they didn’t let the conditions get in way of their admirable resolve and Scotland must have the same mindset. In fact the Scots may be better acclimatised to the Houston heat and humidity than the home side since the Eagles’ boot camp was in the relative cool of Denver, where humidity is non-existent.
“You’ve obviously seen yourself outside, it’s quite hot,” said Reid with admirable understatement. “But we had a big blowout in Tuesday which was really good. It nearly killed me but it was really good to get that question, we needed it.”
At the pre-match press conference, Reid stood in for the Scotland skipper Greig Laidlaw, not that anyone had told the compere who introduced the big prop as the Scotland captain.
“Err, thanks”, Reid responded. “But I’m not the captain.”
He’s come a long way in a short time but not quite that far.