Ryan Wilson says Pro14 final defeat can spur Glasgow on to success

Glasgow co-captain Ryan Wilson refuses to view Saturday evening’s Celtic Park disappointment as an ending but more as the spark that could drive the emerging new generation of Warriors to something special in the future.

Glasgow Warriors' Ryan Wilson applauds the fans at full-time. Picture: SNS

The 30-year-old was one of the heroes of Belfast four years ago when Glasgow lifted the Pro12 title but, after being named joint skipper with openside Callum Gibbins for the season just ended, finished it on the bench.

He came on at Celtic Park 
in the 18-15 Guinness Pro14 final loss to Leinster but is 
now inspired to push on and drive the squad on with him.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

“We spoke in the changing room after and said, listen, four years ago it didn’t just come from us getting to a final and doing it,” said the Scotland back-rower.

“We had to work towards that. It took two or three years to realise that, winning those big games, and we’ve got a group of young men that put their hands up this season.

“Some of the young guys who played have been outstanding and there were men who weren’t out there as part of the 23 today who deserved to have been but you can’t pick more than 23. That’s the exciting thing, that we’re going to have a squad who are going to be competing again next season again.”

The weather was another dampener on an otherwise magnificent occasion but 
even that had been viewed as a positive by the home players ahead of the game, although Wilson admitted that, ultimately, Leinster played the conditions better.

“A couple of the boys were saying there, jeez it sounds crazy, but we haven’t played in the rain for about six or seven weeks. And we’re from Glasgow! Which is bloody unbelievable,” he said.

“We looked at it in the morning and thought, it’s raining, and we came here with a smile on our face because four years ago it started raining in Belfast and we pulled through and won it. So we can’t blame that. We just didn’t fire enough shots.”

Another Glasgow stalwart to come off the bench was centre Pete Horne, who, despite being gutted by the end result, felt immense pride in the atmosphere created by the legions of Warriors fans.

“It was awesome,” he said. “Coming out at the start it was incredible, it just felt special in front of our own fans, with all the flags.

“It reminded me of being a kid and watching Leinster and Munster running out into a sea of blue or red flags. It felt like we’re taking strides to being a really big club. I was really proud of the community getting behind us.”

Horne echoed Wilson’s comments that the squad that carry on the Warrior torch need to use the experience as an inspiration. “We spoke about where we go from here on the field at the end of the game,” said the 29-year-old.

“We’re all pretty down but we spoke about how there’s a good proportion of us who have been here before, who made a semi-final under Gregor [Townsend] and then made a final. It took us a couple of years and it made it all the sweeter when we finally won.

“It’s annoying that another opportunity has passed us by because we didn’t grasp it, but we need to make sure that drives us on.”