Nicol back for Celtic crunch

GLASGOW have restored British and Irish Lions Andy Nicol and Gordon Bulloch to the team for tomorrow night’s Celtic League clash with the Borders.

A win for Glasgow will secure their place in the quarter-finals - even two points would be enough - but defeat could jeopardise their chances despite the impressive four-match winning start they made to the campaign.

Scotland wing Glenn Metcalfe also returns, while Nathan Ross is restored to the middle row as doubts continue over the fitness of Jason White. The Scotland lock is suffering from a back injury but may be restored to the team if can prove his fitness before tomorrow.

Andrew Wilson wins his third start, at blindside, with Gordon Simpson ruled out after undergoing a knee cartilage operation yesterday.

Because of a shortage of cover among the back-five forwards, Glasgow have called up Alan Brown from Dundee High School FP to join the stand-by replacements. Glasgow Hawks prop Euan Murray has also been named among the subs, but it is likely Australian Cameron Blades will be fit to return to the squad and take his place on the bench.

The Borders, who could still qualify for the last eight but only if they take full points from tomorrow’s encounter, name their side this morning, but wing Craig Moir will not feature after suffering a groin injury in the win over Leinster last Friday. That adds to the Borders’ wing headaches as both Scotland caps Cammie Murray and Shaun Longstaff are injured.

Centre Stephen Cranston is also a doubtful starter, as he recovers from an ankle injury, while prop George Graham could make his first appearance in the squad after returning to training after a calf injury.

Meanwhile, Edinburgh and Scotland lock Scott Murray yesterday revealed that his game has changed for the better after just a month with his new club.

Murray was speaking at the launch of a new "Rowdy Rugby" initiative, where Murray, Scotland skipper Budge Pountney and Simon Taylor are aiming to introduced youngsters to rugby in a fun way.

He admitted: "The treatment I’ve had at the SRU is light years ahead of what I got at Saracens, and just the way you’re looked after is so much better, but I’ve also learnt a lot from Todd Blackadder already.

"For example, when I ran with the ball I used to just put my head down and charge, and then concentrate on setting it up, but he’s shown me how to, instead, use my feet better, keep my head up and look to attack spaces. It might seem simple, but it’s never been pointed out to me in the same way before, and it also saves me from getting some big hits."

Edinburgh maintained their unbeaten run in the district under-19 championship with a 21-13 win over Glasgow at a rain-soaked Dalziel last night.

The capital side, runners-up in last season’s championship, owed much to the goal kicking of Michael Ker of Watsonians who landed two penalty goals and a conversion to give Edinburgh an early advantage.

For Glasgow, No8 Grant Strang of Glasgow Academicals looked their most threatening player while on the right wing, Steven Manning of Ayr impressed with his powerful running.

Edinburgh led 10-3 at half time from a try by the Boroughmuir flanker Neil Cochrane and two goals from Ker to a penalty goal by the Glasgow Academicals stand-off Mike Ker for the home side.

Glasgow’s improved showing in the second half produced tries for the Whitecraigs centre Ryan Moffat and Strang, but a forward created score for the Stewart’s-Melville prop Alex Edmonstone and a penalty goal by Mike Brown of Boroughmuir made sure of a capital victory.

Edinburgh’s Tom Philip has been included in a 23-strong Scottish Districts under-21 squad to play Scottish Exiles under-21 on the back pitches at Murrayfield on Sunday (1pm).