Al Kellock aiming for Heineken Cup high with Glasgow

By Jim MasonBBC Scotland rugby reporter
Greig Laidlaw and Al Kellock
Edinburgh's Greig Laidlaw and Kellock are hoping for rare European progress

Al Kellock hopes recent good form in the RaboDirect Pro12 will help his Glasgow Warriors side overcome the odds in the Heineken Cup.

Glasgow have not qualified from the group stage of Europe's top club competition since 1997-98.

But Kellock told BBC Scotland: "This weekend against Aironi is massive. If we can win that, we'll be four in a row going into the Heineken Cup.

"They say that winning is a habit and we're doing well at the moment."

Warriors have been drawn in Pool 3 with reigning champions Leinster, who lie third, three places above Kellock's side in the Pro12.

They also face Bath, who are fourth in England's Aviva Premiership, and Montpellier, who are struggling in eleventh place in the French Top 14.

"Yeah, it's a tough group, but if you look through all the groups, there's no easy group," stressed captain Kellock.

"We play the current champions, Leinster, but we know them well. It's a tough start against Bath."

Bath will be led into the competition by former Lions and Scotland coach Ian McGeechan, who stresses that it is difficult to assess the strength of the teams as all will be strengthened by players returning from World Cup squads.

"It's a hard group to read," he said. "We've both got our World Cup players back. It'll make interesting watching.

"The key thing is to integrate well the players who are coming back.

"We are in catch-up mode tactically and have to accept that."

McGeechan knows what it takes to win the Heineken Cup.

"Experience through the side helps," he said. "When I was involved with Wasps and we won it in 2007, we had some great leaders - not just one or two but seven or eight players who could manage the game and keep us on the right track."

No Scottish club side has qualified for the quarter-finals since Edinburgh in season 2003-04 and Glasgow coach Sean Lineen thinks inconsistency has been the problem.

"It's the depth of squad, experience within the squad as well, and getting that belief," he opined.

"We're getting it now on the back of the performances so far this season.

"Go out there and play our own game, get stuck in right from the word go."

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