Former Glasgow centre Graeme Morrison believes his old club are now under “huge pressure” in Europe after coming away empty-handed from their Champions Cup Pool 3 clash at Exeter Chiefs.
The Warriors were defeated 24-15 by the English champions at Sandy Park and, in a competition where early momentum is so vital, the man who played 176 times for the club and was capped 35 times by Scotland insists it is imperative that there is an immediate response against Leinster at home this Saturday.
In a pool which also includes Vern Cotter’s French table-toppers Montpellier, Morrison admits that failure to register even a losing bonus point in Devon has put Dave Rennie’s side on the back foot as they look to emulate last season’s achievement of reaching the knockout stages for the first time in their history.
“Huge pressure,” said the 34-year-old who retired in 2013. “To come away and still be on zero points in the group they are in is a tough one. They have just got to dust themselves off and get back to it because I think that game was there for the taking and they will view that as a missed opportunity.
“To go down to Exeter, the English champions, and come away disappointed is a promising sign, I think. Back to the drawing board and prepare for the next one.”
Morrison was confident ahead of the game that another big English scalp could be taken and added: “I was disappointed if I was honest. Glasgow started well, but there was a bit of indiscipline and some unforced errors.
“They put themselves into a good position but Exeter held the ball in the Glasgow 22 and just battered away. Two of the tries were opportunistic. It was a missed opportunity. The boys will be disappointed.”
Hooker Fraser Brown’s early injury was a blow to Glasgow and a concern to Scotland ahead of the November internationals.
“He has just come back and when he went down it didn’t look good at all,” said Morrison. “The scrum after he went off Glasgow went backwards. Maybe that was a psychological blow.”
It was the first setback of the Rennie regime, but Morrison has been impressed by the perfect start to the Guinness Pro14 season and is optimistic that a good season lies ahead.
“I have been impressed,” he said.
“They had gone into the weekend without losing a game. I speak to the guys and they see him as huge on culture. Dave is big on that. He has a beer in the changing room with the guys after the game. He talks about brutality and the boys spilling blood for one another and that is good for the squad of players.”
Morrison was speaking at Edinburgh Castle for the launch of ticket sales for this season’s 1872 Cup opener at BT Murrayfield on Saturday 23 December.
He was joined by former club rival and Scotland team-mate Simon Webster, who admitted he relishes the inter-city showdowns a lot more since he hung up his professional boots in 2012.
“I never really did enjoy them,” said the former winger. “The reason for that was that you got to know your opposite number so well with Scotland stuff while you trained with guys like Graeme a lot and it was the game of the year that really didn’t matter how you played, you just wanted to win.
“The fact you are playing against guys who knew your game well, too, made it that much tougher, so I can’t think of too many I enjoyed.”