Glasgow Caley Reds 30 Leicester ............... 17

FOR the first time in their careers Leicester coach Dean Richards and his captain Martin Johnson discovered what it was like to leave Scotland as losers last night.

It had been a long time coming, but they could have no complaints after they and their fellow Tigers found themselves well and truly caged.

''For an hour they wanted it more than we did and I was disappointed with that,'' said Richards, whose demeanour made it clear that the Reds can count on facing very different opposition at Welford Road next weekend.

By contrast Reds coach Richie Dixon knows his problem is urging the same level of performance from his players in successive matches, this one following a drubbing at Pontypridd eight days earlier.

''Last week I said that after two or three minutes they weren't there, but today there was a different feeling even in the dressing room,'' he observed.

This time the example was set from the very touch by the youngster who went on to claim the man of the match award, Jason White.

Rising above the entire Leicester pack he got to Tommy Hayes' kick-off and, although the ball was not properly secured, something of a statement had been made to Johnson & Co. The home side, roared on by a crowd of over 4000, were very much up for the occasion.

That applied to no-one more so than their stand-off, Hayes, the subject of much criticism before this match.

Early on he spurned a three- man overlap, but he hardly put a foot wrong thereafter and, even on that occasion Shaun Longstaff, looking every inch a top class Test winger, saved the situation coming in off the left wing to keep the move alive.

He was dragged down just a few yards short, but with Donny McFadyen and Alan Bulloch arriving first at the breakdown - also setting a trend for that first hour's play - the ball was recycled quickly enough for skipper Andy Nicol to force his way over.

Hayes converted and put over the first of his six penalties soon afterwards. Home supporters were beginning to dare to hope.

Any trepidation was being dispelled by the way their side were dominating all phases of the game in a manner that could hardly be imagined set against the background of Edinburgh Reivers' problems at Northampton the previous day, and Glasgow's 90-point mauling at Leicester two short years ago.

As they maintained the pressure, so it was Leicester who were reduced to an error-riddled rabble, their mistakes compounded by an inclination to bicker with the referee.

Another Hayes penalty stretched the advantage to 13 points at the interval. Those 10 minutes offered time to speculate over whether Leicester would be rejuvenated after the interval, or the Reds would succumb to the third-quarter syndrome which has so often afflicted Scottish sides at key moments in recent years.

Yet two more Hayes penalties began to settle nerves and the upset began to look likely with their second try.

Turnover ball was secured on halfway and Hayes picked it up at pace before delivering a pass which put Longstaff clear on halfway. He raced away from Andy Goode and, with Austin Healey bearing down on him, showed just what an astute rugby brain he has by starting his dive some five metres short of the line, his momentum carrying him over the line.

''When I played my first representative game in Scotland against the Wallabies here, it was very wet and Joe Roff slid in like that twice,'' he explained.

It proved a crucial score since at last Leicester found a way to respond.

Only minutes after switching from scrum half, where he had been fairly ineffective, Healey proved their inspiration, charging in off the right wing on a well judged angle to take the scoring pass from substitute Pat Howard after the Wallaby had used decoy runners very well to open up space.

Almost immediately Hayes' fifth penalty re-established the three-score cushion, but Leicester's pride would not let them accept that and they went on to score two tries which could yet prove crucial in the final analysis of what is the closest-fought of all the Heineken Cup pools.

Having failed time and again with attempts to drive over from close-range lineouts, they finally found a way to get their tried and tested method of attack to work, substitute Lewis Moody forcing his way in.

With Howard's performance making his original omission from the starting line-up all the more puzzling, the Reds were very much forced on to the back foot and a grandstand finish was threatened as Leicester got within two scores with seven minutes of time left.

Andy Goode's intelligent kick to Neil Back, loitering with intent on the left wing, was well taken by the British Lions flanker and, while James Craig got across to him, Back's strength took him out of the tackle and over in the corner.

Goode now took over the goal-kicking duties to convert and the Reds were forced to dig deep defensively.

Yet they will take added confidence from having finished off the scoring, too, Hayes kicking his sixth penalty after Jon Petrie's relieving fly-hack and chase from his own 22 to the opposition's.

Welford Road on Saturday will be a very different matter, though, as Dixon acknowledged. ''I'm actually quite glad they came back at us the way they did, because it showed us how they will come at us next week,'' he said.

''That will ensure that we are in the right frame of mind. This group is wide open.''

Glasgow Caledonian Reds - G Metcalfe; J Craig, J Stuart, A Bulloch, S Longstaff; T Hayes, A Nicol (F Stott 80 min); D Hilton, G Bulloch (G Scott 54-59), G McIlwham, S Campbell, J White, G Simpson, D McFadyen, R Reid (J Petrie 66)

Leicester - T Stimpson; J Murphy (J Hamilton 61), S Potter, W Greenwood (P Howard 61), D Lougheed; A Goode, A Healey; D Jelley (P Freshwater 18-23 & 45), D West, G Rowntree, M Johnson, B Kay, P Gustard (L Moody 57), N Back, M Corry (W Johnson 57).

Referee: J Jutge (France).

Scoring sequence (Reds first): 7-0, 10-0, 13-0 (half-time); 16-0, 19-0, 24-0, 24-5, 27-5, 27-10, 27-17, 30-17.

Scorers: Reds - Tries - Nicol (6), Longstaff (58); conversions - Hayes (6). Penalties -Hayes (11, 25, 45, 48, 66, 80). Leicester - Tries - Healey (62), Moody (69), Back (73). Conversion - Goode (73)

Unlucky for some: perhaps in a portent of things to come Leicester centres Will Greenwood and Stuart Potter both wear No.13 jerseys against Caley Reds. Picture: ALAN RICHARDSON