IT could end up becoming a zinger of a pub quiz question in years to come: who won a public vote to be named McCrea Financial Services Warrior of the Month without ever having played in front of Glasgow Warriors fans? 

With current Covid restrictions forcing Warriors supporters to watch from afar via their television subscriptions, Ross Thompson has been playing in eerily quiet stadiums whilst establishing himself as a central figure in a team which has finally managed to start building momentum recently to exorcise some of the demons of a harrowing start to the 2020-21 campaign. 

While fellow rookie Rufus McLean’s spectacular 70-yard try versus the Dragons last month caught the headlines, and catapulted the winger into the senior Scotland squad, it is the calm assurance of Thompson as chief playmaker which stood out for the Warriors faithful.  

“Either they like what they see or it’s just my family spamming the vote!” smiles the 22-year-old, showing the same icy coolness in the media interview environment as he has demonstrated on the park since making his professional debut at the turn of the year. “I’ve really enjoyed playing so far this season. It’s been a crazy start to the year – it’s only since the start of 2021 that I’ve played any games for Glasgow – but it’s been pretty cool, a pretty good start.” 

As a former Scotland Under-16s, Under-18s and Under-20s cap, Thompson has been on the Scottish development pathway for a long time, and the most impressive aspect of his progress through the ranks has been his ability to always take the next step in his stride. Where other stars have burned brightly then fizzled out, Thompson’s technique, intelligence and ability to make good decisions under pressure has ensured that he has never looked out of his depth. 

“Maybe it just looks like that!” he smiles, when asked about his unflustered disposition. “It’s been tough, but I’ve been lucky to have been in and around the team for the last three or four years, so I’ve had a feel for the environment and what’s expected of everyone when they’re playing.

“My involvement in the team and matchday preparations has obviously moved on a lot from a couple of years ago when I was just in the academy, or popping in for a couple of sessions while I was at university, and it’s going well.

“It has been tough and I’ve had to do a lot of learning off the pitch to try and make sure I’m ready for the games, but I’ve been helped a lot by the more experienced stand-offs like Pete Horne, Ian Keatley and Adam Hastings, and also the coaches.” 

Thompson, who has been a stage three (full-time) member of the academy since the summer of 2018, recently signed his first senior professional deal, and is intent on combining that with the final year of his law degree at Glasgow University. 

“Law is a four-year course, but it will take me five years to complete,” he explains. “I did first year full-time, then years two and three over three years, then I’ll do fourth year next year. You’ve got to do fourth year full-time, and if I was to try to take a year out and go back to it, I think it would be a bit of a pain to start again and get motivated. 

“It feels like it’s dragged on a lot, but I’m still chipping away at it. The uni have been very good at helping me out. I’ll hopefully be able to start my dissertation after I’ve finished the exams I have coming up, then try to get the bulk of that done over the summer.” 

It’s going to be a gruelling schedule, and with Scotland international Duncan Weir plus Argentinean cap Domingo Miotti joining the Warriors ranks next season the competition for game time at No10 will be ferocious – but that’s clearly the way the mild-mannered Thompson likes it.  

“I guess I enjoy the pressure of when your backs are against the wall and people are doubting you,” he concludes. “I definitely do get nervous before games but I think that is probably a good thing. I love getting chucked in [at the deep end] in anything really. Like balancing rugby and university, people question whether or not you can do it, but I enjoy proving people wrong and showing that it is possible.”  

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