The stand-off was thrust into the team for the New Year derbies against Edinburgh and hasn’t looked back, winning a Scotland call-up for the summer tour which was eventually cancelled due to Covid.
Thompson made his Glasgow breakthrough last season when Adam Hastings was injured and Brandon Thomson suffered a dip in form. Both have now left the club but the Warriors have bolstered their options at 10 with the recruitment of two international stand-offs in Scotland international Duncan Weir and Domingo Miotti, the Argentina playmaker who is currently away playing in the Rugby Championship in Australia.
Carolan, who has joined Glasgow from Connacht, believes Thompson can prosper alongside the experienced duo. While the Edinburgh-born 22-year-old got his chance last season partly due to the unavailability of others, Carolan believes the speed at which he adapted to pro rugby belied his inexperience.
“You watch Ross play, he doesn’t play like a young fella who was ‘the last man standing’ last year, and certainly at the end of the season I saw unbelievable balance to his game,” said Carolan. “He’s got a fantastic left foot, he attacks the line, he’s a good defender and he’s brave under the high ball. You know that if he was in any other team he’d be putting his hand up.
“So, at the moment, we don’t have a perceived pecking order at 10, but he’s up there. Duncan is there to support and help bring him through as well, and Domingo is away as well, but Ross knows the landscape, he knows the pitch and he knows the league. With what he has shown in the last six months, I think he’s got a really bright future.”
Carolan, 46, has spent his entire coaching career with Connacht and Ireland age-grade sides but his attacking philosophies chime with those of Glasgow and he was keen to test himself in a new environment.
“For me, if I want to grow and expand how I see and coach the game I need to get more perspective,” he said. “When Glasgow popped up, there were a few other options on the table but I got excited about this one.
“I’ve played against Glasgow at Scotstoun and it’s a bloody tough place to come as an away team. They play an attacking brand of rugby that I felt I could support and challenge to see if I could make it better.
“Glasgow have a real ambitious attacking mindset and that’s in their DNA. I would be a fool and it would be coaching suicide for me to come in and try to change that. So, this is about me adapting to the Glasgow way and looking at their attack through a different lens and seeing if there’s any way I can sharpen things, do things a different way, challenge it or see if I can bring about any improvements.”