That Donnie Macfadyen, the openside flanker claimed the try which put the Reds ahead in the dying stages could hardly have been more appropriate at Perth's McDiarmid Park yesterday.

This was a wonderfully spirited effort all round, but no individual on the park, not even Scott Quinnell, the Wales No.8 who dwarfs the Reds man by five inches and almost four stones and was his side's outstanding individual, deserved to make the telling touchdown more.

Both had storming games in which both scored two tries, but it was the little buzz-bomb who maintained his form to the end.

If it was not always a match of the highest quality - there were too many mistakes and technical deficiencies for that - those who attended were rewarded with huge entertainment by players who showed commendable ambition throughout.

Even in the opening quarter, when scoring was confined to penalty kicks - Tommy Hayes putting over two to Stephen Jones' one - Quinnell's power was puching huge holes in the Reds defence, while Macfadyen was at the heart of a series of attacks.

The sort of blunder which has characterised Scottish performances in this Celtic League led to the opening try.

The Reds scrum was already creaking badly - their set piece play was problematic throughout - and when Andy Nicol and Jon Petrie got into a mess at the base, Quinnell seized upon up the loose ball and charged over.

Their defence was then opened up by some delightful interplay between Dafydd James and Mark Jones, the winger putting Stephen Jones clean through. He was stopped just short of the line, but Quinnell was on hand to take the pop pass and again there was no stopping him.

In such circumstances the Reds might well have buckled in the past, but after Hayes and Jones exchanged penalties they roared back into the match, international forwards Stewart Campbell, Dave Hilton, and Jon Petrie driving into the 22 following a lineout midway inside the Llanelli half, before the ball was swept left where Macfadfyen fought his way into the corner.

Hayes' injury time penalty, after Alan Bulloch had danced his way in close, brought them to within a point at the break.

However a dreadful lapse of concentration let Llanelli pull two scores clear again within 40 seconds of the re-start.

That Stephen Jones, last season's Wales stand-off, is hardly a Phil Bennett or a Jonathan Davies is underlined by his presence at centre yesterday, but he was made to look as if he was a worthy successor to those legends as Reds players fell off tackles alarmingly, allowing him to take play from inside his own half to the opposition 22. When he got there, Chris Wyatt took over and was subjected to the same level of defending, almost none at all, as he rumbled on over.

Two Hayes penalties kept the Reds in touch, but the game was beginning to look as if it was drifting away from them even before Petrie and James McLaren - both of them otherwise among their side's better performers - were brushed aside by Quinnell and James in turn, allowing the centre to extend the Llanelli lead.

Jones converted and, as the match entered the final quarter, put over a penalty from just inside the Reds half.

However the response to that was instand as Petrie set off on a bullocking run deep into the 22, knocking tacklers aside.

Play was rapidly moved right and enough of an overlap had been created for the ever eager Jon Steel to get in for the try which revived some hope.

Hayes converted, then added a penalty and the Reds were somehow back within two points.

Macfadyen's second try was one worthy of winning any game after Nicol, Alan Bulloch, and Steel combined to take play from their own 22 to deep in Llanelli territory.

When Steel was finally stopped, the ball was recycled quickly and moved left where, once again, the flanker was the right man in the right place, managing to get the ball down before being dragged across the touchline, some 80 metres from where the move began.

In the dying stages, Hayes completed an excellent personal performance which saw him register 25 points, by producing a delightfully weighted pass to put McLaren into space. He committed the full back before putting Jon Stuart in under the posts for a try he had earned, not least for some mighty defensive work.

Over the piece the Reds might have been a little bit fortunate, but that is the difference between being among the contenders and among the strugglers, particularly in a league as competitive as this one.

Glasgow Caledonian Reds - A Bulloch; J Steel, J McLaren, J Stuart, J Craig; T Hayes, A Nicol capt; D Hilton, G Bulloch, G McIlwham, S Campbell, C Stewart (S Griffiths 63), R Reid, D Macfadyen, J Petrie.

Llanelli - M Cardey (G Evans 53); M Jones, D James, S Jones, S Finau; A Lawson (N Boobyer 71), R Moon (D Peel 75); P Booth, R McBryde, M Madden (J Davies 76), C Wyatt , C Gillies (V Cooper 71), D Hodges, I Boobyer, S Quinnell.

Referee: M Hall (Boroughmuir).

Scoring sequence (Reds first): 3-0, 3-3, 6-3, 6-8, 6-15, 9-15, 9-18, 14-18, 17-18(half-time); 17-25, 20-25, 23-25, 23-32, 23-35, 30-35, 33-35, 38-35, 45-35.

Scorers: Reds: Tries - Macfadyen (33, 73), Steel (62), Stuart (80); Conversions - Hayes (62, 80); Penalties - Hayes (5, 15,27, 40, 42, 45, 70). Llanelli: Tries - Quinnell (21, 24), Wyatt (41), James (55); Conversions - S Jones (24, 41, 55); Penalties - S Jones (13, 29, 60)