For Edinburgh, who dominated for long stretches of the game and should have had the points wrapped up early, it was a deserved victory. It was also a moral triumph for Glasgow under the circumstances, however.
The Warriors eventually looked unprepared after three weeks without a game – or two months in the case of Richie Gray – and with most of the squad in self-isolation as a precautionary measure for Covid. Still, late in the game, they managed to battle their way back to gain a losing bonus point. That has done enough to persuade themselves that when the teams meet again at the PRO14 at Scotstoun on Friday, they will turn the tables, if they cut down on the mistakes.
One of the culprits again was Brandon Thomson, whose failure to convert the last kick of the game cost Glasgow the game against the Dragons last month. In the first half, he missed a simple penalty, and in the second, it was his high pass to Sam Johnson that contributed to the attempt by Magnus Bradbury. But the attacking player was far from being the only one to make simple mistakes, and you have to wonder if it wouldn’t have been safer if another defender had taken over the kicking duties, given that he went into the game with little faith.
The first half had been scoreless and toothless and seemed like a friendly pre-season. Fortunately, the second half was more of a mid-season friendly one that was far from ideal, but the added enthusiasm shown by both sides made it all the better.
Overall, however, neither team hinted at their potential this season to transcend their poor form. Edinburgh’s third league win means they stay fifth in Conference B out of six clubs, although two games behind fourth-placed Cardiff. With just Zebre ahead of them, Glasgow remains fifth in Conference A.
With a positive foray by home winger Darcy Graham, the only pass of note in the first five minutes, both teams took some time to settle down. It seemed only a matter of time before Edinburgh turned their superiority into points, but the defense of Glasgow worked well to keep their opponents at bay — especially Scott Cummings, whose fight against Henry Pyrgos thwarted one particularly dangerous move.
The Warriors gained confidence thanks to this good performance and made a fast breakthrough through Huw Jones, with Thomson kicking a penalty, but it was off goal.
The first shot at the goal of the match came in 33 minutes, and in the remaining seven minutes before the break, there were no other scoring chances.
The pace increased substantially after the restart, and Glasgow, in particular, now looked much better. After 45 minutes, they were denied a penalty for a five-meter scrum, but the Edinburgh side held them at bay.
The bench was another position where the home side appeared to have the edge, and Richard Cockerill was the first to call on his replacements, simultaneously taking on Rory Sutherland and Simon Berghan. It was expected that the two Scottish mainstays would further trouble the tiring side of Glasgow, and indeed the pair soon played their part in winning another scrum penalty.
But this was within their own 22, and Edinburgh appeared to lack penetration in attack for all its superiority. However, with fifteen minutes to go, it was time.
Jaco van der Walt is as tense as his opposite number, Thomson, is nervous, and he made no mistake when he was given a penalty near the 10-meter line of the Warriors. Glasgow needed to take their chances to get back into the game, but 68 minutes after Johnson struggled to fend off the unlucky Thomson, they fell further behind. Bradbury, who had been on the pitch for just a minute, won the race and ended up between the posts. Van der Walt took off from the halfway line. To make it 10-0, the defending player converted and the game was all but over.
But Glasgow continued to fight, and the replacement Lewis Bean scored a touchdown after a siege of the Edinburgh line. Substitute Ross Thompson converted the ball in place of his near-namesake, having made his Warriors debut just minutes ago.
At that point, only 60 seconds had been played, and Glasgow were unable to launch a counter-attack from deep after the restart. Nevertheless, given the conditions, they may be content with them.