Ahead of what will now be the key fortnight for his team this season, Kiwi Searancke, Glasgow's coach, has been bluntly told there is no scope to make the changes he craves.

''It is very, very clear. We have registered our squad for Europe and our squad for the Celtic League and that is what we have to operate with,'' said David Jordan, the team's chief executive.

He pointed out that rugby's situation is very different to that of football where, traditionally, managers have sold players they were unhappy with and bought in fresh talent to spice up competition. ''They [the coaches] can certainly review our players for next season. That's what they do anyway,'' said Jordan.

''However, we have registration for Europe, we have constraints on budgets and there is no transfer market, so there is very little scope for us.''

That has been highlighted in the case of Steve Griffiths, their lock who sadly - as revealed in The Herald last week - has been told that his career is over, but who is still negotiating his release and may, resultantly, have to be employed in a different capacity until the end of the season.

However, that such issues are emerging in public is a measure of the anger and frustration being felt by Searancke, the head coach, who put his men through yet another ferocious training session before they left Wales yesterday.

He chose to raise the question of overhauling the personnel when asked how much a succession of refereeing blunders had affected the outcome of Saturday's Heineken European Cup opener.

A major part of the problem is that Searancke and his assistant, Steve Anderson, inherited a squad, unlike Tony Gilbert, who played the major part in selecting the players he wanted for the new Borders set-up.

At his first press conference on taking up the job, Searancke expressed surprise at the poor condition in which several squad members had returned from holiday, and he evidently remains deeply dissatisfied by the attitude of some.

''The problem was more our guys' passion and courage rather than a couple of decisions. There have to be changes. I think the greatest concern is that the depth of rugby in Scotland is not as good as they think it is.

''This is our third defeat in a row and we have to respond. I hope they will come out punching. You have to find 15 or even 22 guys who are prepared to die.''

Admittedly, even before he left the media room on Saturday he was trying to tone down some of his stronger criticisms, but they were delivered in the calculated manner of one who very much wanted his players to get the message publicly that they are now fighting for their livelihoods.

He noted, too, that even when the team won four matches in a row at the start of this season's Celtic League campaign he was urging caution.

Perhaps, then, the coaches must also consider whether they have negatively affected the squad's psyche through repeated criticism, a suggestion that Searancke seemed to pre-empt.

''It may be a coaching issue, but I would refute that,'' he volunteered.

It is, though, worth noting that for all the criticism some piled on his predecessor, Richie Dixon, Glasgow had previously won four of six league meeting with Llanelli.

Certainly, all belief seemed to drain from players much too quickly after 50 minutes in which their defence had disconcerted the home side, and put them very much in contention which would have got their campaign off to a flying start.

Pre-match problems, with Calvin Howarth dropping out with a hamstring problem while Dave Hilton returned home to attend the birth of his third child, seemed only to have helped harden resolve.

Jason White's leadership from the front was exemplified in their first half try as his crushing tackle on Simon Easterby sparked a sweeping 60-metre move which ended with White driving over on the left.

However, earlier on the unusually leaden running of Tommy Hayes, when presented with an interception and an opportunity the pacy stand-off would normally have been expected to take, also hinted at too much being left on the training ground.

The Italian referee did, meanwhile, seemed to have arrived with the mindset that Llanelli were the higher rated team as a result of their past European heroics and should win. However, the sin-binning of Lee Harrison for an allegedly high tackle on Stephen Jones was by no means the first dubious decision to go the Welsh side's way. Worse was to come as the referee missed a huge knock-on in the build-up to Llanelli's second try, then wrongly gave them a penalty which led to the third, penalising Glasgow players for offside at Stuart Moffat's kick when they had been played on by an attempted charge down.

However, that several players were more interested in protesting than in preventing Dwayne Peel from taking a quick penalty and skating away untouched from 40 metres out, was unprofessional. That Martin Madden, an 18 and a half stone prop, was then allowed to sell a dummy and charge in from 20 metres was also poor, but the match was lost by that stage.

Having struggled dreadfully on three successive trips, to Pontypridd, the Borders, and now Llanelli, at least Glasgow can look forward to playing at Hughenden over the next fortnight.

Victory against Sale on Friday is the minimum requirement if they are not to exit Europe in double-quick time, while their chances of going the distance in the Celtic League could well be down to whether they can beat Connacht a week later and so earn a home draw in the quarter-final.

Llanelli G Evans; M Jones, M Watkins,

L Davies, S Finau; S Jones (G Bowen 7min), D Peel; I Thomas (J Davies 76), R McBryde, M Madden, V Cooper (L Gross 58), C Wyatt, S Easterby (D Hodges 19), I Boobyer,

S Quinnell (M Thomas 59)

Glasgow S Moffat (M Bartlett 68);

G Metcalfe, A Bulloch, A Henderson,

J Steel; T Hayes, G Beveridge (A Nicol 61); C Blades, G Bulloch, L Harrison, A Hall

(N Ross 61), J White, A Wilson,

D Macfadyen (A Kelly 34-42), J Petrie

Referee G De Santis (Italy)

Scoring sequence (Llanelli first) 3-0, 3-7, 8-7, 11-7,11-10 (half-time); 18-10, 25-10, 32-10, 32-15, 35-15, 42-15, 45-15

Scorers. Llanelli: Tries Evans (29min), Boobyer (53), Peel (55,72), Madden (60)

Con S Jones (53, 55, 60,72) Pen Jones

(7, 31, 68), Bowen (78) Glasgow: Tries White (17), Macfadyen (65) Con Hayes (17) Pen Hayes (37)