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HUGO BAMBOOZLES IN BOXING DAY BONUS FEST

Edinburgh: 39 (16) Glasgow: 6 (6)



Most folk think of libraries as repositories of learning.  They offer us all, young and old, rich and poor, access to the wonderful world of books.  Renowned former West Fife resident Andrew Carnegie rightly believed that they are a route to success for the working man and spent much of his fortune building them around the world.  In Glasgow, by contrast, a library appears to be understood as a tranquil and largely empty place where people tell you to be quiet.  Maybe the City of Glasgow Council employ particularly aggressive librarians.  Hence the visitors' nickname for Murrayfield.

They have a point, though.  It takes something special to rouse the Embra tifosi from beneath their travel rugs.  There is no cheap applause at Murrayfield.  But they can get worked up big style when they're in the mood, as was demonstrated during tonight's hefty Inter-City win, played in front of over 12,000.

The superbly good humoured travelling support made their own contribution to a great atmosphere throughout this Boxing Day derby.  It will be some achievement if similar numbers of Embra ultras can make it over to Firhill for the return match (2 January, kick off 3 pm).

In the build up to this encounter, Glasgow coach Sean Lineen went on at length about Edinburgh's supposed influencing of referees.  I wish!  One of this side's enduring weaknesses is precisely that they do not put enough pressure on officials during matches.  He even made the same point when being interviewed trackside prior to kick off.

Here's some free advice, Sean.  If you spend more time teaching your midfield how to defend and a bit less time chirping at the ref, you might find that your talented squad win games like this.  With Morrison just back from injury, snake-hipped centre Nick de Luca and his partner Ben Cairns made line breaks through the 10-12-13 channels at will throughout this game.

But it's true that an officiating decision early in the second half probably decided the outcome.  With Glasgow enjoying an extra man, Newlands having been carded, Parks knocked a well-judged bomb to the corner.  Kelly Brown seemed to beat the covering Houston in the air and touch down.  A try would have narrowed the Edinburgh lead to only three points, putting the visitors very much back in the hunt. 

The referee called for a view from the TV official.  Endless replays seemed to show a legitimate try.  But the man with the remote said no.  It would be genuinely interesting to know why.  Glasgow lost their discipline after that and Edinburgh registered 13 unanswered points in the next ten minutes to make the game safe.    

The game got off to a decent enough start, Godman and Parks exchanging penalties in the opening seven minutes.  "Big" Jim Hamilton was a standout in the loose, but - a pattern repeated throughout the game - Glasgow's subterranean work at the breakdown was outstanding.  Credit must go to Barclay and Brown for outfoxing their opponents.

After Parks had missed a second penalty on 15 minutes, Edinburgh opened a decent lead.  First, Godman notched his second penalty.  Then, on 23 minutes, a hideous mix up in the Glasgow midfield on their ten metre line saw Mikey Blair scoop the ball up at pace and surge untouched under the posts, Godman converting.

From the restart, Edinburgh recovered from a poor initial catch.  Jim Hamilton again exploded out of a ruck, the ball was shipped left for Craig Hamilton to power almost to the Glasgow 22.  Godman knocked over his third penalty for offside at the breakdown.  16-3.

After Parks had pulled a penalty back with half an hour on the clock, Newlands was carded for obstruction on the half way line.  Glasgow upped the tempo noticeably in an effort to make something happen, but poor handling and solid defence kept them out until the break.

Following Glasgow's strange non-try after the restart, Edinburgh scored an absolute peach.  Cairns' excellent run in traffic took the ball deep into the enemy 22, from where it was shipped inside to Godman.  The mercurial midfield mini-maestro has a reputation for playing what's in front of him.  He did just that with a sleight of hand that was reminiscent of Gregor Townsend's legendary "Toony Flip" to current Edinburgh Chairman Gavin Hastings in the Parc des Princes in 1995.  This time it was Webster who was the beneficiary of a wonder pass, the winger dancing over for a superb score under the posts.  The conversion stretched the lead to 23-6.

Godman killed the game with two more penalties before 50 minutes were on the clock.  With Glasgow looking increasingly ragged, a bonus point win was on the cards.

It came closer with a score after a training ground move worked perfectly.  Off quick lineout ball, a Godman long pass found Cairns in space.  The centre timed his feed to perfection, releasing the speeding Hugo through the gap on a great angle.  The full back raced over in the corner.

The usual rash of replacements around the hour did not seem to upset Edinburgh's rhythm, even as Blair Minor and Laidlaw replaced the Godman-Blair Major hinge.  But it was that man Hugo who conjured up the bonus point score, a missed tackle allowing him to make good ground on the left.  Cairns cruised up in support to take a well deserved touchdown in the corner, 39-6 the final score.

Edinburgh took their tries well and were the more incisive side tonight.  But Glasgow will take comfort from the excellent form of their outside backs - Stortoni and Thom Evans in particular - and the quality of their work at the breakdown.  The return fixture looks like being a rather closer affair.

Edinburgh now sit in second place in the league, but it's incredibly tight.  A win of any description next Friday is key if they are to mount a serious title challenge.

Back by popular demand, it's THE CHRIS HOY FASCINATING FACT OF THE WEEK: Sir Chris was, bizarrely, the Glasgow Sportsperson of the Year in 2007 and 2008.

MAN OF THE MATCH: The Man With The Tan, HUGO.  He's on fire.

SCORERS:

Edinburgh: Godman 5P 2C, Blair M 1T, Hugo 1T, Webster 1T, Cairns 1T

Glasgow: Parks 2P

TEAMS:

Edinburgh: Hugo; Houston, Cairns, De Luca, Webster; Godman, M Blair; Jacobsen, Ford, Kerr, C. Hamilton, J. Hamilton, Newlands, Rennie, Hogg.

Glasgow: Stortoni; O'Hare, M Evans, Morrison, T Evans; Parks, Gregor; Va'a, Hall, Kalman, Barker, Kellock, Brown, Barclay, Beattie.

Attendance: 12,534

Referee: Paterson (SRU).