Glasgow Caley ...... 10

Bridgend .............. 17

HE may not have used the word during his after-match summing up, but the slump of Caley coach Richie Dixon's shoulders spelled crisis.

After five chapters of the Celtic League campaign, the Reds lie next to foot of the table with just one victory - and that was against the other Scottish so-called superteam.

Dixon seemed as mystified as the sprinkling of spectators at Rubislaw as to why his team do not seem able to compete with Welsh clubs - and the ones at the lower end of the principality's top-flight ladder at that.

In the past, whether it be with Scotland or Caley, defeat has seldom dampened his spirit and optimism.

That did not seem to be the case on Saturday.

Though they would not state it openly, there is no doubt that the players are fast becoming heartily disenchanted at the fact that even the home fixtures mean a trek to some far-flung corner of the rugby globe.

Missionary work is all well and good, but surely - in light of recent results and the apathetic response of the provincial public - it should be confined to taking foreign touring teams to the Ayrs and Aberdeens. To ply their trade at full and effective throttle, the players do not just want to be at home, they want to feel at home.

The sooner that all league matches are staged at the same venue, the better their prospects.

Dixon said: ''The players didn't get involved as I hoped they would. Bridgend were very stuffy and able to drive with their forwards.

''We are struggling at the moment because we don't have all of our front five players available. But in terms of effort, I couldn't fault our guys.

''Once again, we tried to play too much rugby when the situation demanded a more straightforward approach.''

Understandably, Bridgend coach Brian Powell was considerably more upbeat, saying: ''It was a good old-fashioned ding-dong. A real rugby enthusiast would have enjoyed that and it is a pity so few were there to see it.

''It wasn't pretty, but we deserved to win.

''We contained them when we faced the strong second-half wind and we were unlucky at times late on not to get further scores.''

The Welshmen effectively snatched the spoils with a 10-point burst in the first half - and administered the killer punch with a try shortly after the break, just as Caley were threatening to make a fist of it.

The home touchdown was claimed by full back Alan Bulloch on the cusp of half-time.

He scooped up a loose ball on halfway, forced his way through a couple of unconvincing challenges and scuttled to the line.

Tempers frayed towards the end and referee Jim Yuille was forced to produce his yellow card twice.

First, he sin-binned Bridgend's Stephens for a punch, then, to the amusement of the crowd, the former Scotland front-five forward Alan Watt was sent packing just seconds after coming off the bench.

Glasgow Caledonians - A Bulloch; J Craig, J Stuart, I Jardine, R Kerr; T Hayes, A Nicol (captain); W Anderson (A Watt, 70min), G Scott, G McIlwham, D Burns, S Griffiths (W Anderson, 77), J White, G Flockhart, D McFadyen.

Bridgend - A Durston; D Jones, J Devereux (A Jenkins, 72), L Davies, D de Caux; M Lewis, S Wake; U Moa (S Wild, 40), C Ferris, R Jasper, S Ford, C Stephens, R Webster, D Williams, M Molitika.

Referee - J Yuille (Biggar).

Scoring sequence (Bridgend first): 0-7, 0-10, 7-10 (half-time); 7-17, 10-17.

Scorers: Glasgow: Tries - Bulloch (40). Conversions - Hayes (40). Penalties - Hayes (22). Bridgend: Tries - Stephens (14), Wake (44). Conversions - Lewis (14, 44). Penalties - Lewis (15).