ASSISTANT coaches, like players, often need a season or two to fit into a new team. Not so Peter Murchie, who has quickly made his presence felt at Glasgow since joining as skills coach in March.

The fact that the former Warriors full-back was returning to familiar surroundings may well have helped him slip in seamlessly to his new role, while the obvious star quality of the back-three players with whom he has worked most directly - Cole Forbes, Rufus McLean and Ollie Smith - cannot have been a hindrance either. Even so, as we approach the end of a turbulent season for the team, the arrival of the ex-Ayrshire Bulls head coach has to go down as one of the evident successes, and recognition of that has come with his being named as Scotland’s defence coach for the summer Tests against Georgia and Romania as well as the A game against England.

Before turning his attention to those games, of course, the 35-year-old has his day job to attend to this weekend and next, as Glasgow bid to reach the final of the Rainbow Cup. It would be a remarkable turnaround if they did make it, given the dismal defeat by Benetton which kicked off their campaign in the competition, and the odds are still firmly against them finishing top of the European heap and thus qualifying for a showdown with the best of the South African sides. But if they beat Dragons in Cardiff on Saturday then win again at home to Leinster the following Friday, they will at least be in with a shout.

Softly spoken and undemonstrative, Murchie is not the type to get carried away just because his team have had a couple of decent results. But he credits those games against Edinburgh with helping the Warriors players stay motivated, and he appears sure they will be up for the fight at the weekend against opponents who have already beaten them twice this season in the PRO14.

“It’s a bit of a sprint, isn’t it, this competition?,” the former Scotland full-back said yesterday. “It’s an opportunity to re-set and start again, and we’ve been lucky we’ve had derbies against Edinburgh. It makes it easier to get into when you’ve got those types of games that you obviously want to perform in.

“We’ve obviously looked at the table, but we’re probably best when we concentrate on the week ahead and we deliver a performance. We’re in with a shout, but there are other things that are outwith our control. We’ve got the Dragons in Cardiff this weekend - which is within our control - and we know that if we win we’re in a good position going into the last game. So it certainly gives you more to go on when you’re in with a shout of finishing top.”

Given his age and his rapid rise, Murchie would appear to be well placed to go far in coaching. But, just as he does not want to look beyond the Dragons game with his Warriors hat on, he is similarly disinclined to speculate too much on his own future.

“I’ve been at Glasgow for, what, three months?,” he continued. “I’m not getting too far ahead of myself. I’m pretty new into my job at Glasgow, so I’m not going to make any grand predictions on where my coaching career is going to go.

“I’ve got a great job here at Glasgow, and I’ve got an amazing opportunity with Scotland in the summer for a short period of time. I want to be the best that I can be, exactly the same as I was as a player. But I’m very new into my role, so I’m just trying to do my job at Glasgow to the best of my ability.”

He may be new to his current role, but, having played in the back three, Murchie has been able to impart some valuable lessons to those young players who have broken through this season. “Given my playing background, I know that area well and I’ve got a decent eye for the detail around that.

“We’ve done a fair amount of work with the back-field guys in terms of positioning. Kicking is a big part of the game now. It is tough being a back-three player in the modern game, getting kicks rained down on you and positionally getting a lot of questions asked of you in kicking and defensively.

“The days of just standing on the wing and not giving much are gone. It’s an area which I enjoy coaching in and it’s been good to work with this group of players - they’re a really good bunch.”