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CATASTROPHIC DISPLAY AT FIRHILL

Glasgow: 46 Gunners: 6



Glasgow's first game at their new home this afternoon suggested that "Firhill for thrills" may become as apt a slogan for the Warriors' PR machine as it has been at times for their footballing cohabitants. Twenty years after one John Beattie was in his prime in a Scotland jersey, another one, Beattie Jnr, showed every sign that he may soon follow his illustrious old man in the national team. The youngster set up three tries in a 46 - 6 rout of the high-flying Gunners. Not so much brought back to earth; more like buried six feet under.

From an Edinburgh perspective, this was a disaster. The early December games will decide whether this is to be a successful season, or another one where the Edinbourgeois are left to wonder what might have been. This result and this performance, so reminiscent of the dire defeat at Netherdale earlier in the campaign, unfortunately suggest that it will be the latter unless there is a dramatic improvement over the next six days.

Though undefeated at home, Edinburgh must win at least five away games to be in with a chance of winning the Celtic League. Despite two excellent wins in Llanelli and Dublin so far, it is difficult to see where - apart from Galway - the others will be secured on this form.

And the Gunners must beat Toulouse at Murrayfield next week to stay in the Heineken.


Yet it was Edinburgh who scored first today, a Hodge penalty following a useful Jorgensen run off a Blair break. The veteran stand-off then traded penalties with Glasgow's Gregor to see the Gunners hold a slender 6-3 lead, their last of the match.


Concerted Glasgow pressure led to their first try, Beattie popping up on the overlap for the touchdown. Five minutes later, the flamboyantly-named full-back Graydon Staniforth made a good break before kicking for touch in the corner. From a subsequent scrum, Beattie set up Tkachuk for the converted try.

Another tyro back row, John Barclay, then charged down a Hodge clearance, with Gregor getting to the ball first for the try. Then Staniforth notched one of his own in injury time. 29-6 at half time.

Gregor stretched the lead with a penalty from the opening kick off of the second half. Then Beattie again turned provider, to see Staniforth over for his second try of the night.

Even a yellow card for Lee Harrison did little to slow the Glasgow juggernaut; the home side looking dangerous during the power play.

Morrison completed the scoring with another try, converted by replacement stand-off Parks.

It would have been nice to set up next Saturday's game against the European champions with a morale-boosting victory; or at least a decent performance. This was neither. An improvement of several thousand percent will be required if the historic Meadowbank triumph over Toulouse is to be repeated.

Perversely, though, this could be just the spur the team need. The Gunners are a far better side than they were then, with quality in depth, and have matured as a squad. Toulouse always were fabulous, but Edinburgh know that they can beat them. With the entire season hanging on this one, must-win game, and everyone's backs to the wall, the Gunners can - they must - do it.

EDINBURGH GUNNERS: Hugo; Webster, Jorgensen, Dey, Leonelli; Hodge (c), Blair; Jacobsen, Kelly, Dickinson, Kellock, Pringle, Strokosch, Callam, Cross Replacements: Lawrie , Hewett , Murray, MacDonald , Blackwood , Godman , Pyke

GLASGOW WARRIORS: Staniforth;O'Hare, Morrison, Barrow, Lamont; Gregor, Beveridge (c); Tkachuk, Lawson, Murray, Barker, Hamilton, Swindall, Beattie, Barclay Replacements: Harrison, Thomson, Hayter, Turner, Pinder, Parks, Henderson