GLASGOW have not had their troubles to seek in recent weeks, but at least some of the gloom surrounding the club has been dispelled with the news that Richie Gray is available to play against Edinburgh today. The lock, who has been out of action since being concussed against the Ospreys in October, takes his place in a Warriors squad which looks very strong despite the continuing problems with injury and illness.

Danny Wilson will not expect Gray to transform the team’s on-field fortunes single-handed after two months and more on the sidelines, but he is nonetheless pleased to have such an experienced figure back in the ranks for the PRO14 match at BT Murrayfield. “It’s great to have him back,” Wilson said of the 31-year-old. “He’s in a good place and looking forward to getting back on the field, and we’re looking forward to having him out there.

“He’s not played a huge amount of rugby for us. We all know what his experience brings, his leadership, his lineout work. He’s a talisman in terms of Scottish rugby and it’s great to have him out there. He’s a fans’ favourite as well.

“At the same time, we have to give him the opportunity to work himself back into rugby after being out for a longish time. Apart from that, he’s in a good place and ready to play.”

While Gray is back, important players such as Adam Hastings, Leone Nakarawa, Tommy Seymour and Kyle Steyn remain on the injury list, and Pete Horne has now joined them after being concussed in the team’s last match, the 42-0 defeat by Exeter. Three of the four players who tested positive for Covid following that game also remain unavailable, as do three others who have had to self-isolate after coming into close contact with a positive case.

The Warriors have declined to name the Covid cases on the grounds of medical confidentiality, and have instead issued a list of those players who are unavailable for one reason or another. They are: Alex Allan, Fraser Brown, Rob Harley, Adam Hastings, George Horne, Pete Horne, Oli Kebble, Sean Kennedy, Kiran McDonald, Rufus McLean, Niko Matawalu, Leone Nakarawa, Tommy Seymour and Kyle Steyn.

It was announced on Hogmanay that co-captain Fraser Brown is expected to miss the first three months of the year because of a neck injury, while scrum-half George Horne will be out for almost as long with a foot injury and Alex Allan will not play again this season as he recovers from an Achilles operation.

The absence of both Hastings and Pete Horne means Ross Thompson comes on to the bench for a possible debut as replacement stand-off behind Brandon Thomson, while the unavailability of Kebble sees Aki Seiuli start at loosehead, with George Thornton in line to come off the bench for his second appearance.

Including Thompson and Seiuli, Wilson has made six changes to the side that began that loss to Exeter. Two of the others are in the back three: Huw Jones starts at full-back, while Ratu Tagive comes in on the left wing as an indirect replacement for Seymour, with Lee Jones moving to No.14. In the pack, Gray takes the place of Harley, and Tom Gordon comes into the back row in place of McDonald.

“We’re comfortable with the guys we’re putting out there - they’re good players,” Wilson continued.

“But when your internationals are available you want to play them, and there are a few that we can’t.”

For that and other reasons, the coach insisted, his team should be seen as underdogs for the game. “They’re at home, aren’t they? They’ve picked a very strong team, pretty much their full hit bar maybe Gilko [Grant Gilchrist] missing, and at home and come off the back of a big win.

“It makes for an interesting game as we go there as underdogs away from home with an opportunity to go there and cause an upset. We have 14 boys unavailable to us at the moment.

But I think it’s still pleasing for me that we can put out - in certain positions especially - a very strong team.”

Glasgow Warriors (v Edinburgh at BT Murrayfield, today 3pm): H Jones; L Jones, N Grigg, S Johnson, R Tagive; B Thomson, A Price; A Seiuli, G Turner, Z Fagerson, R Gray, S Cummings, R Wilson (captain), T Gordon, M Fagerson. Substitutes

J Matthews, G Thornton, E Pieretto, L Bean, T Ioane, J Dobie,

R Thompson, G Bryce.