If Glasgow Warriors seasons were like fine wines, then last campaign was an extremely poor vintage for Sean Lineen’s men.
An eleventh-place finish for the RaboDirect PRO12 outfit and an exit from the Heineken Cup at the group stage signified Lineen’s worst season since taking over at Firhill.
But any vineyard is going to suffer in times of famine and with international absentees at their highest during the Six Nations, as well as an already lengthy injury list, it is no surprise that their worst run came during those early months of 2011.
Four defeats, a draw and a solitary victory from those six games ended any hopes the Glasgow outfit might have entertained of a late push for the playoffs.
But this time around it is all change as the Warriors currently sit fifth in the RaboDirect PRO12 table with only one defeat from their last ten games in all competitions.
The additions of the likes of David Lemi and Troy Nathan have strengthened his side’s strength in depth no end and the imminent return of Sean Lamont is further indication of the change in outlook pervading Firhill.
“The PRO12 was a real disappointment for us last year and we recognized that we needed to strengthen the squad, and the signings of the likes of Sean [Lamont] and David Lemi really show our intention,” he said.
“Those guys give us pace and power out wide and that makes a real difference in terms of the ambition that we can start to play with.
“By showing the squad that there is going to be serious investment that can only garner a response from them and we are starting to see that now.
“Glasgow traditionally don’t do well over the Six Nations period but hopefully this will be the first time that we have enough cover to cope while the tournament is going on.
“Every team this year is gunning for the playoffs and we at Glasgow are no different, we were all very disappointed with what happened last season.
“We were unlucky with injuries and absentees but even so we didn’t cope with the situation and that was hard to take.
“I had to have a real think about what I wanted to do this summer because it was very frustrating last year and it was a real step backwards for the club.
“There are no excuses in professional sport, only reasons and we didn’t deal with everything that was thrown at us.”
Once again Glasgow will find their squad pecked bare when Andy Robinson picks his preliminary squad for this February’s Six Nations.
But rather than bemoan his sizeable absentee list Lineen, who won 29 caps for Scotland himself, is looking forward to playing a major role in the redevelopment of Scottish rugby.
“I would like to think that Scottish rugby is on the up these days, both Edinburgh and Glasgow are going well in Europe but we were all disappointed with what happened in the World Cup,” he added.
“Scottish rugby certainly isn’t weak, and it’s up to the players to go out there and prove that. At the end of the day results don’t lie and the World Cup was a disappointment.
“The players know that, look they were only eight seconds away from going through at one stage but those are the margins we are judged by and they didn’t get the job done.
“And I think that is a factor behind our good form of late because we all sat down and examined the process as a whole in Scotland, it really was a case of going back to basics. We all had to roll up our sleeves and get to work on what needs to change.
“With players like Duncan Weir, Ruaridh Jackson and Harry Leonard all bursting onto the scene it’s an exciting time for Scottish rugby and they are all being tested straight away at the highest level.”