Edinburgh 54

The rousing reception accorded visiting stand-off Brendan Laney said it all as he left the pitch last night having inspired Edinburgh to the most complete hour of attacking rugby produced so far by a Scottish professional team.

The final margin had been even greater when the Borders visited Meadowbank just after the New Year, but on that occasion they had looked a tired side, having played Glasgow just three days earlier.

This time there was no excuse as they were ripped to shreds by rugby of sublime quality, Edinburgh's release of the ball in contact situations a lesson in the modern game. The Borders even had a man advantage for a quarter of the match, Craig Smith heading into the sin bin shortly after coming on as a substitute, following Martin Leslie, who had gone off just before the break.

With one eye on next week's Six Nations opener, Edinburgh were so comfortable they were even able to take off several key international players long before the end.

Not for the first time this season a Scott Murray lineout steal sent them on their way. The ball was swiftly shifted from the left to the right wing and when Simon Webster was stopped, Todd Blackadder filled in at scrum-half to send it spinning back the other way, where Mike Blair slipped a tackle in midfield to put Craig Joiner into space; he gave Derrick Lee the easy run in.

Tanner Vili reduced the leeway with a penalty, but Edinburgh reasserted themselves when Blackadder, in spite of juggling the ball as he received it, made good ground into the 22. This time it was slightly more orthodox as the ball was recycled to Blair, but his pass was far from conventional as he hooked the ball almost pelota-style into the path of Simon Webster putting the winger clean through.

A lengthy spell of Borders pressure produced only a Vili penalty which only allowed Edinburgh out to once again show their inventiveness.

This time Murray tapped the ball down to Ally Kellock at a lineout in the 22, shifting the target to allow the drive to gain momentum and, remarkably, when the pack powered over it was the ubiquitous Laney who emerged to claim the touchdown.

Marty Leslie was sin-binned for throwing a punch shortly before the interval but 14-man Edinburgh did not miss a beat and extended their advantage with a truly sublime counter-attacking score early in the second half. Laney, inevitably, sparked the move, realising there were men over and firing a mis-pass to Blair, who fought off Gregor Townsend's attempted tackle to release Blackadder on the left.

He thundered on and when he was stopped just short of halfway, Laney took it on down the blindside, both centres and Kellock providing delicate touch passes in support before the ball was fired along the line from wide on the right where Dougie Hall had enough pace to get past Semo Sititi into the left corner.

As Leslie returned, Edinburgh were in total command and teasing, probing rugby took them into the red zone once again where Laney's sudden acceleration provided the break, Lee taking his pass then delivering the immediate inside ball to put Blair in. Almost directly from the re-start they scored again, Laney looping around Ally Dickson with Lee making the perfect angled run to go in untouched this time.

Laney went off at that point but even in his absence, opposite number Townsend struggled to impress, dropping the ball in the tackle when he appeared to have the line at his mercy, before he did manage to squeeze the ball down a few minutes later to score his side's first try.

However, Laney's replacement, Duncan Hodge, on his first appearance in two months then upstaged that when his through-the-legs pass was taken by Paterson, who weaved his way through for his side's seventh try; as the match moved into injury time a quick tap penalty alowed Hodge to feed Allan Jacobsen at point-blank range.

Campbell Feather did claim the game's final try but by then it was way beyond the point of seeking consolation on a night when Edinburgh made a major statement about the pecking order in the Scottish game.

Borders T Vili; N Walker, J Stuart, K Utterson, G Morton (S Cranston 25); G Townsend, G Armstrong (I Fairley 51); P Thomson (C Dunlea 56), S Scott, B Douglas, S MacLeod, C Stewart (R Metcalfe 51), A Rennick, S Sititi, C Feather

Edinburgh D Lee (C Sharman 66); S Webster, C Joiner, A Dickson, C Paterson (M Blair 71); B Laney (D Hodge 55), M Blair (G Burns 71); A Jacobsen, D Hall (C Di Ciacca 64), J Brannigan (C Smith

49-60), N Hines (A Kellock 26), S Murray, T Blackadder, M Leslie, S Taylor (A Dall 68)

Referee R Maybank (England)

Scoring sequence (Borders first): 0-5, 3-5, 3-12, 6-12, 6-19, 9-19 (half-time); 9-26, 9-33, 9-40, 16-40, 16-47, 16-54, 23-54

Scorers. Borders. Try Townsend (66), Feather (80) Cons Vili (66, 80) Pens Vili

(8, 30, 40)

Edinburgh. Tries Lee (4, 53), Webster (17), Laney (32), Hall (45), Blair (51), Paterson (74), Jacobsen (80) Cons Laney (17, 32, 45, 51, 53), Hodge (74, 80)