GLASGOW Warriors may be top of the PRO14 table and looking like a certainty for a play-off spot with less than one-third of their games gone, but none of that matters this week. This is the start of a new competition and in the European Champions Cup, results count for nothing.

It means a noticeable step up in intensity as they arrive back from South Africa today and prepare to travel the length of England to play in Exeter on Saturday.

For club captain Ryan Wilson, satisfaction with results to date is mixed with frustration at aspects of the actual performances.

“The boss [head coach Dave Rennie] said he can’t believe what perfectionists we are,” Wilson said as the players started the long, three-flight trek back to Scotland after their bonus-point 29-26 win over the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Friday night.

“We are getting five points against teams and yet we are disappointed. It’s just the way the players in this group are. We want perfection, we want to be playing well. Defensively, we are playing well, but I still think we can do better, we have things to work on.”

Wilson has been around the club for long enough to know Glasgow only started to scratch the surface of their European ambitions last season when they finally broke their 19-year duck and reached the quarter-finals of the senior competition for the first time. It was a breakthrough, but only whetted the appetite for more.

In some ways, the trip to Exeter is a perfect opener. It is possible to lose an away tie without too much damage but home wins are a must.

Not that Wilson agrees: “We don’t really think like that,” he said. “There is always talk of this massive emphasis on home wins in Europe but the way we’ve been playing, I think we can go away from home and beat teams.

“It will be interesting to see how we go against Exeter, they look to play a lot of rugby, like we do. They are playing well at the moment but we believe we can go down there and win and we won’t be thinking of anything else.”

The match in South Africa was a perfect encapsulation of Glasgow’s season so far. When they were good, they were brilliant, but there were also a lot of mistakes that, if repeated next week at Exeter, would almost certainly condemn them to defeat.

There were long periods of the game where the line-out was a shambles, the scrum was under pressure all through the match, and there were enough handling mistakes to keep the Cheetahs in the game.

For all that, Glasgow not only won with a bonus point, they became the first Guinness PRO14 team to stop the South Africans collecting a scoring bonus point at home.

Apart from a lapse from a tap penalty early in the game and a kick-and-chase on the stroke of half time, the Warriors kept a lid on the fastest back three in the competition.

That is the kind of performance without the ball they will need again in Exeter, as Wilson accepts.

“Defence is certainly something that will win us games,” he said. “We could definitely play a lot better but we are finding ways to win and that is the sign of a good team that will go on and do well. I think we have only clicked once, against Munster.”

At individual level, there have been some unexpected gems. For example, Callum Gibbins came over from New Zealand and slotted straight in.

“He’s a grafter, someone we need in the team,” Wilson said. “He gets down and dirty and does what he has to do. He’s special to the team, he’s one of those guys you know you can rely on week in and week out.”

Another is Ruaridh Jackson, the prodigal son who has returned to the club and slotted in at full-back so effectively that Stuart Hogg has barely been missed.

Wilson said: “I think he has played every minute of every game and against the Cheetahs he was unbelievable. I thought he was up there for man of the match.”