THERE have been unhappier moments in the build-up to what should have been big moments in Grant Gilchrist’s career, but listening to the man who stripped him of the captaincy of his club describe its players as having a reputation for letting themselves down as it was announced that he was set to make his 100th appearance could not have been a comfortable experience.

To his credit the 27-year-old international lock forward did not flinch when – with Richard Cockerill, Edinburgh’s new coach sitting on his right hand side – that was put that to him.

“(We are) determined to put it right,” replied Gilchrist.

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“It’s true. We can’t hide from the fact. Last season we beat Harlequins and then followed it up by losing at home to Zebre. We are the ones who need to fix that. I don’t like the sound of that and don’t want to be associated with that – one week good, one week s***. We are the people in the room and we need to put that right. We’ve got a great opportunity this weekend.

“We got the result and performance we were after last weekend. There’s a lot to work on but it’s got to be backed up.”

Operating as they now are under the supervision of a product of the Leicester Tigers winners’ assembly line, those who have been component parts of a misfiring Edinburgh set-up for several years have no real choice but to accept Cockerill’s critique, not least one of those appointed as co-captains last season.

By season’s end neither he nor Stuart McInally, the other of them, were leading the team, veteran former Scotland captain Ross Ford instead being put in charge by caretaker coach Duncan Hodge and, on his own behalf at least, Gilchrist admits to understanding that decision.

“I wasn’t my best. I let things affect me with the way the team was playing,” he acknowledged. “I tried to shoulder a lot of stuff which clouded the way I was playing. I learnt a lot last year about what actually is important to the team is, number one, me making sure my role is done well and not cloud my head with other stuff. Do your job well is the best thing you can do for the team as a leader.”

More than a decade on from the popularisation of the All Black ‘sweeping the sheds’ philosophy among those seeking to set standards for sports teams, that really is ‘simple stuff’ and the fact that a player who has been involved long enough to be approaching the landmark that Gilchrist will reach tomorrow sees what is now happening as ‘different’ seems quite a condemnation of how things have been done at Murrayfield.

First impressions of the impact made by fresh thinking having been hugely encouraging when they not only claimed what was just a third league win over Cardiff Blues in seven years, but did so away from home last weekend. They can now begin the process of addressing that matter of having been chronically unable to back up decent performances.

On the face of it they could not have a much better opportunity with home advantage at Myreside against the weakest of the Welsh teams and, having beaten the Dragons then Glasgow Warriors at the end of last season, registering a fourth successive league victory would provide momentum they have not managed to generate in close to two years.

Doing so would, then, be just the sort of affirmation that the squad needs that they are now being put on the right track and Gilchrist certainly seems to feel that he is now working within a set-up that is capable of returning the club to the sort of occasions it participated in during the 2011/12 season when they reached the semi-final of the European Cup, knocking out Toulouse on the way.

“Making 100 games for Edinburgh is something I’ll be really proud of, but first and foremost it’s a game we want and need to win so my focus will be purely on that,” he said.