As I have written before, the beauty of being the midweek columnist is that you get time for more reflection about the events of the weekend, and not just dole out instant reaction as so many colleagues are forced to do.

As it happens I ran into that fine rugby writer David Barnes on Sunday and our reactions to Glasgow Warriors defeat by Toulon in the European Challenge Cup final on Friday in Dublin were much the same – basically the Warriors picked the biggest game of the season to have one of their worst days at the office. Men and boys, one pundit called it during the match, and he was not far wrong at times, though I’m glad Warriors were at least able to get on the score sheet.

A couple of days on and I still feel Warriors let themselves down mainly by failing to perform at the highest level, and on the day Toulon wanted it more, not least to give Sergio Parisse one last trophy near the end of his magnificent career. Their big players turned up, but hardly any of the Warriors matched their usual standard.

And there’s the rub - on reflection there was much to be positive about in Glasgow’s season if not the Challenge Cup final itself. This was confirmed yesterday when Franco Smith was named as the United Rugby Championship’s BTK Coach of the Season, an award voted for by the URC clubs’ coaches and directors of rugby - when your peers think you have done a marvellous job then you most certainly have done so. He thoroughly deserves it.

We have to remember where Glasgow were at this time last year. After a transitional season which saw current regulars like Jack Dempsey, Sione Tuipulotu and Sebastian Canciellere arrive at Scotstoun, Glasgow reached a nadir when Leinster humiliated the Warriors 76-14 in Dublin. Head Coach Danny Wilson duly departed, and I was incredulous that it took so long to replace him. Remember that Franco Smith only arrived shortly before the friendly matches which started season 22-23, and it was no wonder that the Warriors struggled at first in the regular season.

Yet quickly but surely Smith transformed the Warriors into a formidable outfit as signposted by the

record-equalling run of nine consecutive unbeaten matches in December, January and early February.

In addition, Warriors won both the 1872 Cup and lifted the Scottish-Italian Shield. Anyone who had said a year ago that Glasgow would finish fourth in the URC and qualify for next season’s Champions Cup would have been met with quizzical looks at least. But they have not only done it, they have done it some style.

For my money the Warriors were the most exciting team in the URC. They created Fortress Scotstoun, their only competitive defeat at home being the URC quarter-final loss to Munster, and all this with a squad that Smith largely inherited from Wilson. And now that squad has seen 17 of its number selected for the Scotland national training camp starting next week. Oh, and don’t forget we’ll probably also see Sebastian Cancelliere and Sione Vailanu at the World Cup for Argentina and Tonga.

Announcing the award for Smith, Glasgow Warriors’ managing director Al Kellock said: “As Franco himself has said, though, this is only the beginning for this group; I’m excited, as I’m sure are our supporters, to see where Franco, the coaches and this group of players take this club next season.”

Lots of very good signs from Smith-led Glasgow, then, and there’s other reasons for optimism in Scottish rugby, not least because I feel Edinburgh Rugby’s backward slide will soon be reversed. They will need a boot up the fundament, but a new head coach will deliver it, whoever that may be.

The national squad is replete with confidence after the Six Nations, and the domestic game is progressing with the Super Six and Inter-district championships now proving to be the intermediate level they were planned to be. I personally would love to see more investment in the amateur clubs, the women’s game, and the Sevens squads, but I realise resources are limited.

Above all we have the World Cup looming large and while the draw made years ago has been unkind, nevertheless Scotland will be performing on the biggest stage in rugby and that alone is worth looking forward to.

I can’t conclude this column without paying a personal tribute to John Roxburgh whose death at the age of 84 on Sunday has robbed Scottish rugby of a legendary figure. I first met him while he was in charge at Glasgow Hawks, and I was assured he had mellowed somewhat by then. Rocky was honest and direct and his achievement as the first man to introduce coaching courses in Scotland during his long spell at the SRU’s first paid ‘technical consultant’ will mean he will never be forgotten.