Maybe it was the presence of the Botham family, father Ian turning up to support son Liam and try to induce some extra support for his charity walk.

Maybe it was the fact that some excitement has at last been generated by the World Cup. Maybe it was just that they had won their previous two games.

Whatever, a decent Friday night crowd turned up at Hughenden to see the Reds put up a rather more respectable effort than Edinburgh Reivers managed against the same opponents a week earlier.

Admittedly, a couple of late tries slightly flattered the home side, but then, for all but a brief spell in the second-half, Cardiff had hardly looked substantially better.

The first-half had hardly been electrifying as the two stand-offs exchanged penalties, Irish referee Bertie Smith - a man with as much of a feel for advantage as his countryman David McHugh had had at Murrayfield on Wednesday - picking up on umpteen infringements at the breakdown.

Fortunately, Tommy Hayes was the more reliable in that period, putting over all three of his attempts, while Irish internationalist Paul Burke missed two.

That the Welsh side were still ahead reflected their greater share of the pressure however, and the Reds were fortunate to be only three points behind after a couple of near misses late in the half.

The first of those came directly from the kick-off following Hayes' third successful strike, the defence's failure to gather being seized upon by Steve Williams.

As he charged into the home 22, he found support from second-row colleague Brett Barrett, and when he was hauled down just a couple of metres short, the Reds could consider themselves lucky that Mr Smith found cause to blow his whistle and award Cardiff a scrum.

Reds did fall behind shortly before the interval, following Burke's fourth penalty, but were probably relieved that the deficit was only three points, the Cardiff pack having driven across their line from a lineout only to be held up.

The second-half began in the same vein as, within three minutes of the re-start, both No.10s had hit the target again.

It was, though, the Welsh side that finally found the means of intoducing some continuity into the game.

Captain Mike Rayer made the break inside his own half which led to the game's first try, flanker Owain Williams' acceleration further opening the defence before lock Steve Williams found a remarkable turn of pace to finish.

Hayes reduced the leeway before Williams went over for his second, this time arriving on the shoulder of Jamie Robinson to and slice his way through.

As Cardiff maintained the pressure, it looked as if the Reds were on their way to a real drubbing when Robinson took a crash ball at close range to go over for their third try in the space of 13 minutes.

Perhaps the best encouragement for the 1500 or so spectators to come back, however, was the fight they showed, even when briefly forced to have three scrum halves on the pitch.

Indeed, Graeme Beveridge looked very much the part at centre as he played a part in their two late tries which put a much-improved look to the scoreline.

Firstly, he took advantage of Hayes' break, selling a dummy to suck in the last two defenders and give Jon Stuart an easy score.

Then the makeshift midfielder got himself on the scoresheet after Iain McInroy's break down the right wing, hooker Gavin Scott also helping him keep the move alive before Beveridge broke clear.

Glasgow Caledonians - B Irving (A Bulloch 52); I McInroy (F Stott 57-73), J Stuart, I Jardine (G Beveridge 61), J Craig; T Hayes, A Nicol (24-40); A Watt (W Anderson 40), G Scott, G McIlwham, S Campbell, S Griffiths, J White (D Burns 57-64), D McFadyen, J Petrie.

Cardiff - L Botham; G Esterhuizen, J Robinson, M Rayer, S Hill; P Burke, K Ellis; G Cox, D Geraghty (G Powell 76), A Yates (B Stankovich 76), S Williams (S Moore 18-23), B Barrett (S Moore 61), G Kacala, O Williams (J Ringer 63), E Lewis.

Referee: B Smith (Ireland).

Scoring sequence (Glasgow Caledonians first): 3-0, 3-3, 3-6, 6-6, 6-9, 9-9, 9-12 (half-time); 9-15, 12-15, 12-22, 15-22, 15-29, 15-36, 20-36, 25-36

Scorers: Glasgow Caledonians - Tries - Stuart (77), Beveridge (40); Penalties - Hayes (1, 13, 35, 43). Cardiff - Tries - S Williams (47, 57), Robinson (60); Conversions - Burke (47, 57, 60); Penalties - Burke (7, 11, 28, 40, 41).