Grant Gilchrist believes the pressure Edinburgh have been under over the last couple of months can be the perfect preparation for play-off season.

The Edinburgh co-captain is delighted that his side have something to play for at this stage of the campaign and they’ve been needing to win, and with bonus points, over recent weeks to ensure they have a place in the top eight.

A result against Munster on Friday night could see them come close to sealing a place in the play-offs with Benetton - currently eighth - visiting the fifth-place Bulls.

Glasgow could also do their rivals from along the M8 a favour if they beat the Lions, 10th currently but just four points behind Edinburgh, when they meet in South Africa on Saturday

They then face Benetton in the final match of the season in what could be a shootout for the top eight. 

Gilchrist reckons they have effectively been playing knockout rugby already and it can stand them in good stead for the rest of the campaign.

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The Scotland lock said: “We are determined to embrace it. The last thing you want at this time of year is just playing for pride or positions in the table. We want to be playing big games that really matter. We’re getting plenty of practice at that.

“We’ve played in the last 16 and quarter-finals in Europe and then these last five league games, where we knew we pretty much had to win all five to progress. Come what may each week, we are getting more and more comfortable in that pressured environment.

“We’ve spoken a lot this week about being really clear on what our plan is, and making sure we stick to our plan under pressure and having real clarity about what we’re going to do.

"Come Friday night, when the bullets are flying, we need to know exactly what we are trying to achieve at every moment – that is every player, every moment, for the whole game.

“That is what really counts, more than replicating stuff live or beating each other up in training, you need to know exactly what you’re going to do.

"We have to train at a bit of intensity so we know what it looks like, but we’ve got to keep our tanks full of energy, put everything into Friday and be really clear in our minds what’s required of each and every one of us.

“We knew we had to win five games in a row and we knew we had to get five points in a few of those."

Gilchrist said the visit of the defending champions to Hive Stadium will be a "cup final" for his Edinburgh side. 

He added: “With five games to go we set a target of winning all five games and we are three down with two to go. We have to get better each week, we know that. T

here were parts [against Zebre] that were good and we just have to build on them tidy up a few things and throw everything at Munster.”

Taking on Munster won’t be easy though with the Irish side the defending URC champions and looking to secure a top-two finish this year. 

Graham Rowntree's side are third at present, just one point behind Leinster and two behind Glasgow Warriors.

Scotland Rugby News: Grant Gilchrist

Gilchrist believes Edinburgh have what it takes to beat anyone at Hive Stadium, though, and is confident they can get the result they want.

He added: “Playing at home, we believe we can beat anybody on our day.

"We know the size of the challenge but we are excited about that. That’s what it’s about.

“It’s rubbish being in a changing room with nothing to play for. It’s a real privilege to have the pressure of having to win games and going out and playing against top sides, knowing you need to get the job done.

"That’s what’s excited us the last few weeks and will be even more exciting this weekend. We’ve earned the right over the last few weeks to go into these last two with it all in our own hands."

Gilchrist knows the outcome of Friday's game may well be determined up front. 

“You know the size of the challenge and you want to play against the best players and the best teams," he added.

"They are always one of the best teams, especially up front.

"We know the battle that awaits in that part of the game but also at the breakdown.

"As they’ve shown over the past seven games, they’re capable of some great attacking rugby as well, so we are going to have to defend as well as we have this season.

"Our defence is getting better and better and we’re going to need that on Friday night.”