JUBILANT Caley captain Andy Nicol yesterday reflected on his team's long-awaited first Celtic League triumph over a major Welsh club in their own back yard and insisted: ''The corner has been turned.''

The reaction of Nicol and the rest of the players was entirely predictable when the final whistle sounded as they punched the air in delight, having finally laid to rest their away-day bogey.

Nicol said: ''The performance itself was as pleasing as the result and, to be honest, it was everything that most of our other Welsh trips hadn't been in terms of commitment from the first second to the last. It was a thrill to be part of it.

''We have come a long way this season. At the start of the campaign we were an embarrassment when we played in Wales, leaking scores of points on virtually every visit and failing to defend anything.

''We improved a bit, but still lost - but the big corner has been turned, and the equally big challenge is to make sure it is not a one-off.''

While Nicol and his colleagues celebrated, coach Richie Dixon's face had a ''what's all the fuss about'' look on it. There was only the hint of a controlled grin - because the result didn't surprise him in the slightest.

''This has been coming for weeks and weeks,'' he stated afterwards.

''We have been getting closer and closer to getting it right in Wales and this sort of thing had to happen sooner rather than later.

''It might have happened at Pontypridd when the match was abandoned at half-time, and it should have happened at Neath when we were in the lead up until the final few minutes.

''Now that we have achieved it, the important thing is to build on it and make it a regular occurence.''

He added: ''It was also a thoroughly deserved success and to complete the double over a team of such pedigree is a tremendous achievement.

''Coupled with the Reivers' victory over Newport on Friday, it was a damn good weekend for Scottish rugby.

''It was a real hard-nosed game, but we also contrived to play excellent rugby. Even the Llanelli faithful realised that we were very worthy winners.

''We showed a lot more composure in the tackle situation, looked after the ball and tackled superbly.''

Centre James McLaren emerged as the heroic villain, sclaffing over the clinching drop-goal after returning from a spell in the sin-bin - an experience which seemed to have lucky connotations.

He explained: ''The last time I was sin-binned was during the Calcutta Cup triumph at Murrayfield - and Scotland scored three points without reply.

''Coincidentally, the referee on that occasion was also Clayton Thomas - and again at Stradey, Caley scored three without reply when I was on the sidelines.''

Of the drop goal, McLaren chuckled: ''That's three I have had in my career, if you include school. It just scraped over - but they all count.

''What really won it for us was the way we defended a tapped penalty near our own line just beforehand.''

Without intending to dent McLaren's ego, both Nicol and Dixon were quick to point out that the kick was executed while advantage was being played and that the Reds would have been awarded a penalty in front of the posts anyway.

With the breeze at their backs, Nicol and co had dominated both territory and possession in the first half, but all they had to show for their efforts was a converted touchdown by Gordon Simpson, the fit-again flanker, and a penalty by Tommy Hayes.

Would it be enough? The answer was to the affirmative, although Caley did have to soak up spells of heavy Scarlet pressure. Hayes banged over another penalty to ease the jitters when Neil Boobyer failed to release the ball in the tackle.

Alarm bells began to ring for Dixon's troops as home skipper Scott Quinnell - far and away their most effective player of the afternoon - set of on a bulldozing charge to send fly half Stephen Jones in for the try, which he converted himself.

Llanelli gambled by snubbing the opportunity to kick penalties at goal, preferring to go for the five or seven-point haul that would probably have tipped the issue in their favour.

They never looked like breaching the Caley defence again, however, and it was left to McLaren to take the last breath of wind out of their sails by claiming a most unlikely three points.

Llanelli - M Cardey; M Jones, D James (A Lawson, 64 min), N Boobyer (G Evans, 55), S Finau; S Jones, R Moon; P Booth, R McBryde (M Thomas, 73), M Madden (J Davies, 55), C Gillies, C Wyatt, D Jones (D Hodges, 55), S Quinnell, M Buckingham.

Glasgow Caledonians - R Shepherd; J Steel, J McLaren, J Stuart, S Longstaff; T Hayes, A Nicol; D Hilton, G Bulloch, G McIlwham, S Griffiths (S Campbell, 64), J White, G Simpson (G Flockhart, 58), D MacFadyen, J Petrie.

Referee: C Thomas (Bryncoch).

Scoring sequence (Llanelli first): 0-7, 0-10, 3-10 (half-time); 3-13, 10-13, 10-16.

Scorers: Llanelli: Try - S Jones; Conversion - S Jones; Penalty - S Jones. Glasgow: Try - Simpson; Conversion - Hayes; Penalties - Hayes 2; Drop goal - McLaren.