Glasgow 29

Connacht 7

Through the Hughenden glaur they clawed their way to the top of Celtic League Pool B last night, but Glasgow must still wait for confirmation that their quarter-final will be at the same ground.

Victory took them above Connacht, but while the margin by which it was achieved was fine reward for a prodigious effort, should Cardiff win at Pontypridd today - while allowing the home side to score four tries - and finish within seven points, then Glasgow would slip back into third place and be forced to travel.

That is the unlikeliest of scenarios, however, particularly given Ponty's home record and current excellent form, which had them atop the pool ahead of this weekend and would be cruel given Glasgow's effort to overcome the elements as well as rugged opponents. Little more could have been expected as Jason White, who had captained the side on what was his 100th appearance for them, rightly noted.

''On a night like this we've just got to be grateful for the win,'' he said.

That drew hearty assent from his coach, Kiwi Searancke, who suggested this was a far more significant performance than the four wins at the start of the campaign that meant Glasgow qualified for the last eight before faltering recently.

''What appeals to me about tonight was that we are coming back to some sort of form and showed that we are learning to tough it out,'' he said. ''It was not great rugby, but we got a win anyway, because the guys were playing gutsy rugby.'' Early dominance should have earned Glasgow a healthy lead but, in Tommy Hayes' absence, Calvin Howarth struggled with his goal-kicking in a way which almost seemed to be the final proof that he is now eligible to play for Scotland.

He missed four of seven pots at goal in the opening half and Glasgow's failure to capitalise on their superiority was underlined when, after Howarth had managed to find the target for a second time following the sin-binning of Eric Elwood, Connacht's response was to take the lead. It came from a lineout drive, the ball squirting from a maul as they were going over, before Dan McFarland reacted first to dive on it and squirm his way in.

However, Glasgow replied instantly, Andy Henderson, who has largely been out of favour in terms of starting matches this season, finding the way through. He dummied then broke a tackle on halfway to surge into Connacht territory before matching power with delicacy in weighting his kick perfectly for the pursuing Stuart Moffat to beat Wayne Munn to the ball and slide in on the right.

Glasgow were then put under enormous pressure by the latest example of poor application of the sin-bin law.

Where Elwood had gone off for blatantly killing the ball at a ruck close to his own line - Connacht having been warned for repeated infringements after conceding around a dozen penalties in the first half-hour - the yellow carding of Jon Petrie had all the hallmarks of a tit-for-tat decision when he handled the ball at a ruck.

Elwood returned immediately afterwards. However, the decision to allow him to reclaim the goal-kicking duties after McHugh had converted their try from the left touchline backfired, as he missed two opportunities which were easy by his normal standards. That helped Glasgow hold out until the interval and they edged further ahead when Howarth managed to hit the target for a third time to end the half.

The stand-off then made further amends for his earlier missed kicks by claiming the try which heralded the second period. After the pack had driven in close from a lineout, his half-back partner, Graeme Beveridge, initially looked to have claimed the score only to be adjudged held up over the line. From the resultant scrum, however, Howarth went down the blind side and spun out of a tackle to touchdown on the left.

Only strong wind could have made conditions any trickier and the effect of the torrent was such that it was strangely appropriate that, shortly after Eric Peters had taken the field for Connacht, he was joined by former clubmates Andy Nicol and Dave Hilton for what could only be described as a mud-Bath reunion.

Meanwhile, Howarth had further strengthened Glasgow's position with his fourth penalty, but Connacht's success this season has been based almost entirely on their fighting qualities while coming on strong at the end of games and they lived up to their reputation.

Indeed, while their own dogged defending had much to do with keeping their line intact, Glasgow also had reason to be grateful to the weather for making it hard for the Irishmen to produce any continuity during that period.

Having kept them out, however, they then finished on a high, battling their way upfield for the pack to force their way over to let Donny Macfadyen touch down and end the game.

Glasgow S Moffat; M Bartlett, A Bulloch,

A Henderson, G Metcalfe; C Howarth,

G Beveridge (A Nicol 51); C Blades

(D Hilton 53), G Bulloch, L Harrison, A Hall

(N Ross 70), J White, G Simpson,

D Macfadyen, J Petrie

Connacht G Duffy; J Norton (T Robinson 40), D Yapp, M McHugh, W Munn; E Elwood, C Keane (M Walls 67); D McFarland

(R McCormack 67), J Flannery (M Uijs 67), P Bracken, W Waugh (D Browne 40),

R Frost, C Rigney, J O'Connor, J O'Sullivan (E Peters 48)

Referee H Watkins (Wales)

Scoring sequence (Glasgow first): 3-0, 6-0, 6-7, 11-7, 14-7 (half-time); 21-7, 24-7, 29-7

Scorers. Glasgow. Tries Moffat (28), Howarth (42), Macfadyen (79) Con Howarth (42) Pens Howarth (4, 22, 40, 52) Connacht. Try McFarland (25) Con McHugh (25)