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FIRHILL FOR ... WHATEVER

Glasgow: 30 (10) Edinburgh: 18 (12)



Given that this was the first Inter-City trip west I've failed to make for years, it'd be a bit off to bemoan the low level of commitment shown by the members of the travelling Embra disaster area as it crashed big time once again at Firhill this evening.  Plenty of others among the Embra tifosi are unlikely to be so shy, however.  The imminent New Year festivities are, of course, a time when we make all sorts of resolutions for the year to come.  Yet while one hopes that the club as a whole will have a long list of improvements they intend to make to their modus operandi on and off the park, the chances are that it will come to nothing.

Edinburgh are stuck in a hole at the moment, much of it their own making, and I honestly cannot see things getting better without some pretty radical changes.  They are out of Europe, realistically a long shot for the Magners playoffs and while the 1872 Cup is not an impossible dream, the chances of them even winning the return fixture at home look pretty remote on this showing.  While they've played some good rugby from time to time, and managed to secure three losing bonus points in the Heineken, they are just not winning matches, such as tonight's, that they should be winning.

Glasgow were not 'there for the taking' this evening.  But they have lost a number of key guys this season, notably Dan Parks, who has performed outstandingly so many times in this fixture in the past.  As a result, they are undoubtedly rebuilding and Embra should have been looking to win.

Fundamentally, the side that most wants to win any derby match in any sport generally does so.  Embra consistently fail to win in the Maryhill area because they are consistently less motivated than the Warriors. If one definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result, the Gunners' approach to these fixtures is pretty mad.  At least Scott McLeod cared enough to get red carded for a bit of argy bargy on the stroke of no-side.  Meanwhile, young Harley carried on the lengthening tradition of a Glasgow back rower winning the Man of the Match award, which is a fair indication of where these clashes are generally decided.

The Gunners started the match pretty well, two David Blair penalties in the feisty opening encounters giving them a 6-0 lead.   Graeme Morrison's departure injured on 13 minutes should also have disrupted Glasgow a bit.  But Jackson pulled back three points shortly afterwards with a penalty.  And Harley sparked the first try of the match, running the restart back through some woeful tackling to put flying Canadian winger DTH van der Merwe cantering off for the touchdown, converted by Jackson.

Two further Blair penalties before the break put the Embra men 12-10 up, though, which should have been a platform to build on after the interval.

And it looked like they would indeed kick on.  Following a Blair-Jackson penalty tit-for-tat, the extravagantly haired Richie Gray was carded for a pretty cynical bit of spoiling play in an offside position, Blair's penalty taking the Embra lead to 18-13.  Yet the Gunners could not make the extra man count.

Glasgow showed them how to do it shortly afterwards, when Ford was sent to the bin.  Jackson knocked over the three pointer, then Hefin O'Hare breezed over for their second try, converted by Jackson.  Max Evans crossed soon afterwards, O'Hare's conversion seeing Glasgow comfortably home 30-18. 

There's more of the same at Murrayfield same time on Sunday.  Can't wait.

Happy New Year!

 

MAN OF THE MATCH:  Glasgow's blindside proto-lawyer ROB HARLEY.

SCORERS:

Glasgow: Jackson 3P 2C, O'Hare 1T 1C, DTH 1T, Evans 1T

Edinburgh: Blair D 6P

TEAMS:

Glasgow Warriors: B Stortoni, H O'Hare, M Evans, G Morrison, DTH van der Merwe, R Jackson, C Gregor, J Welsh, F Thomson, M Low, R Gray, A Kellock (capt), R Harley, J Barclay, R Vernon. Replacements: D Hall, R Grant, K Tkachuk, A Muldowney, C Fusaro, H Pyrgos, P Murchie, F Aramburu.

Edinburgh: J Thompson, L Jones, B Cairns, J Houston, T Visser, D Blair, G Laidlaw, A Jacobsen, R Ford, G Cross, S MacLeod, F McKenzie, S Newlands, R Grant (capt), R Rennie Replacements: A Kelly, K Traynor, D Young, S Turnbull, S McInally, J King, N De Luca, S Webster.

Referee: Macpherson (SRU)