When the appointment of Franco Smith as head coach of Glasgow Warriors was announced, I for one was delighted.

It would have been so easy for the clamour for the appointment of a Scottish coach to be satisfied, but quite frankly, although there will be a raft of suitable Scottish candidates in a year or two, what the Warriors need right now is a coach with international experience who knows the United Rugby Championship and can bring specialist knowledge to bear on Glasgow’s biggest task – coping with the four South African teams who have made life hell for just about everybody else in the URC when they are playing at home. And not much easier when they are on the road…

Of the main candidates for the job, Dan McFarland stood out on his record in four seasons at Ulster, but the man with strong links to Glasgow and Scotland is in the early days of a new contract with Ulster so it would have cost a bundle to take him to Scotstoun, and the SRU were always unlikely to part with the serious cash required. Not that Smith is second best, as he has been secured from his position as head of high performance for Italian rugby where he might have carried on for some time – it suggests he was made a decent offer to come to Scotland, and his past coaching record at Cheetahs and Treviso suggests he comes with an insider’s knowledge of South African and Italian rugby that can only be good for the Warriors – and as fate would have it, Smith’s first URC game in charge of Warriors is in Italy on Friday September 16 against his old club Benetton.

Glasgow must win that fixture to have any chance of successs in the URC, and for the real test will come in October when in successive weeks they must play Bulls at Scotstoun and then go south to face Sharks and Lions on the following two Saturdays.

Smith’s opening exchanges with the media have been pleasing. The 50-year-old talks a good game and though that is no guarantee that he will be a success at Scotstoun, at least we know the cut of his jib and I like it. He mentioned Bill McLaren commentating on Five Nations matches when he was growing up and Scots always appreciate a nod to the Voice of Rugby. Smith also emphasised his admiration of Gregor Townsend which brings me nicely to the point that Warriors need to get back to the winning ways they developed under Toonie, and that is what Smith has pledged to do, also promising to bring back excitement to Glasgow – and let’s face it, there was not a lot of that about Scotstoun last season.

I particularly like what he told my old colleague Tom English of the BBC: “We want to win consistently over a long period, not just have one or two big games and then regrets.

“We’re looking for a winning brand of rugby, good to watch, with people on their feet watching it. It’s about scoring tries and working hard not to give away tries.

“The fans must see that, they must see the effort and the hard work of the players. We want to be significant in what we do.”

Now that’s the sort of fighting talk we want to hear from the man in charge of one of our two professional teams.

One of Smith’s biggest problems is that he has not been able to buy in his own kind of player. Yes, Glasgow have recruited five signings since the end of last season, and they look a good quintet, with the return of Huw Jones particularly pleasing for the fans. JP du Preez coming in from Sale Sharks is also a good signing and I am reliably informed the players stepping up from the academy might well make an impact soon. The fact is that Warriors have internationalists at the squad’s core and as professionals I expect they will all soon adjust to their new head coach’s way of doing things.

It would have been pleasing for Smith to be told by the SRU that there was a secret stash of money for him to spend, but we all know there isn’t and he will have to work with the players that he has been given.

Smith has been clever enough not to name any targets for the season, except that he wants to win everything – well he would say that, wouldn’t he – but I would suggest that beating Edinburgh in the inter-city matches at Yuletide and qualifying for the Champions Cup would be the minimum expected by the fans. Given how far the Warriors fell last season – that 76-14 hammering by Leinster in the URC quarter final was mind-numbing – you could say that for Franco Smith the only way is up. Let’s hope he gets the direction of travel sorted.