Alan Solomons hailed the impact of John Hardie after Edinburgh's impressive 23-11 victory over Glasgow Warriors.
New Zealand-born flanker Hardie joined the club after a fine Rugby World Cup campaign with Scotland, and scored a crucial late try at Murrayfield in a brilliant all-action display.
"He is a terrific player," head coach Solomons told BBC Scotland.
"And it's only when you're involved with him and coach him that you appreciate just how good he is."
While deflecting any personal plaudits, Solomons stressed the importance of the 1872 Cup derby fixtures, concluding with the second leg at Scotstoun next Saturday.
"I think the league points are critical, but the 1872 Cup is equally critical," he said. "It's a fantastic derby.
"I've been involved in some big derbies over the years, and this is one of the best. It serves a dual purpose: the league points are critical, but the 1872 Cup is a big, big thing.
"We've put ourselves in a decent position, but we are aware we've got a big task ahead of us at Scotstoun."
Hardie, 27, paid tribute to retiring team-mate, and fellow flanker, Roddy Grant, as well as veteran hooker Ross Ford, who made his 150th Edinburgh appearance.
"To get that win on Fordy's 150th and Roddy's retirement, I thought I owed something in that number seven jersey to Roddy," said Hardie. "He's been really great to me."
Hardie's try was his third in six games for the club, and while relishing the collisions on the field, off it he was taken by the atmosphere created by the 23,642-strong crowd.
"It was an awesome crowd; the atmosphere was unreal," he said. "It was up there with some Test match-level rugby - parts of it were that intense.
"When you're playing against your mates, you don't want them to get one-up on you, so I really enjoyed playing against some of them - they're class players."
Team-mate Matt Scott, the Scotland centre who also crossed the whitewash, admitted that "there is still a lot to come from Glasgow".
"Tonight I thought our tenacity in defence was great, we were hitting them back in the tackles," he said.
"Of course it's nice to get the points, but you don't look at it as a Pro12 game from a player's point of view, you're definitely looking at it as two legs.
"It's nice to get he four points tonight but we'd love it even more if we could back it up next week and retain the cup."