Glasgow Caley Reds ....... 14 Llanelli ....... 10

A try deep into injury time by captain Andy Nicol saw Caley kickstart their Celtic League challenge with a thrilling win over Llanelli at muddy Hughenden last night.

A relieved and delighted Caley coach Richie Dixon, who in his pre-match build up had insisted that his side were better that their position at the foot of the table, praised his side's determined effort. ''We have been waiting for while to get a break or two - and we got them in this game,'' he said.

''Despite our recent poor results, I never doubted the guys had it in them to perform like this and we can go on with a bit of confidence and build from here. In previous matches we didn't have the necessary mean-ness, but they really stuck at it until the end.''

Caley, desperate to haul themselves away from the foot of the table, could scarcely have provided the home supporters with a more encouraging start.

Only two minutes had elapsed when Tommy Hayes took advantage of a Llanelli infringement in front of the posts to kick his side ahead with the penalty.

Moments later, the men from the principality were penalised again for holding on at the breakdown. However, from just a few metres inside the Llanelli half, Hayes this time pulled the kick narrowly wide of the left upright.

Undaunted, the Cook Islander doubled Caley's lead in five minutes with another regulation penalty.

It was scant reward, however, for a superb attacking sequence, in which Hayes was again heavily involved. His strength and pace saw him leave two Welshman in his wake before the feed found Ian Jardine charging towards the line at full tilt.

Gavin Scott also weighed in before Llanelli were eventually penalised under their posts.

Caley were showing scant regard for Llanelli's table-topping status as the visitors were kept firmly on the back foot throughout the opening exchanges.

The towering Gareth Flockhart was next to raise home hopes when he gathered a sliced Hayes clearance before gaining 50 metres in a thrilling sprint down the right flank.

However, gradually the Scarlets adjusted to the pace of the game and, with Craig Warlow orchestrating in midfield, they began to make their mark. One spearing 60-metre kick by the talented fly- half took the Welshman to within a foot of the Caley line.

There were fears among the home fans when Caley failed to win their own lineout, but they issued a collective sigh of relief when Llanelli squandered a good position by straying offside.

Caley quickly bounced back to the other end, where Llanelli winger Mark Jones felt the full force of two eager Caley backs as he fielded Andy Nicol's kick ahead.

With conditions deteriorating, Warlow's tactical kicking was playing an increasingly important role. Another accurate touch kick by the stand-off saw Llanelli camped deep in Caley territory in a spell of play that finally saw the visitors grab the initiative.

They first threatened when the ball was swiftly switched to the overlapping Matt Cardey, who was only denied by James Craig's desperate tackle.

However, there seemed no way out of their own 22 for the Reds and their line was finally breached in 24 minutes.

Drive after drive by the powerful Welsh pack was rewarded when prop Simon Emms picked up and charged over. Warlow was on target to edge his side ahead with the conversion.

Caley's response saw Gordon McIlwham held up a few metres short of the Llanelli posts as the visitors fiercely defended their advantage.

Instead, the Scots could count themselves lucky when Jardine took the flying Ian Boobyer out with a high tackle 10 metres from the line.

There might even have been a case for a penalty try until the flanker lashed out with a fist to see the decision go Caley's way.

The Scots made the most of their good fortune within two minutes of the restart when Hayes' trusted boot sent another penalty sailing between the posts.

That simply proved the catalyst for another spell of defending by the home side, who found themselves on the receiving end of a wave of Welsh attacks.

It spoke volumes for the spirit of Richie Dixon's troops that they kept Llanelli at bay until the sixty-ninth minute.

However, the home side increasingly found themselves penalised as the pressure began to tell, and it was little surprise when the Scarlets regained the lead with a penalty.

However, Caley refused to take defeat on a night of heroics. Twice they suffered the agony of Hayes falling just short with long-range penalties before producing the crucial thrust.

For once, Caley's pack managed to force their rival back from a scrum half, and Nicol timed his pick up to perfection to dive over.

Glasgow Caledonians - A Bulloch; J Craig, J Stuart, I Jardine, R Kerr (B Irving 74min); T Hayes, A Nicol; A Watt, G Scott (D Hall 70), G McIlwham, S Campbell (S Griffiths 79), D Burns, J White, G Flockhart, D McFadyen.

Llanelli - M Cardey; W Proctor, S Finau, N Davies, M Jones; C Warlow (B Hayward 54), P Horgan (R Moon 65); S Emms, M Thomas, M.Madden (J Davies 65), V Cooper (A Copsey 65), C Gillies, S Easterby, H Davies, I Boobyer.

Referee - S Piercy (England).

Scoring sequence (Glasgow first): 3-0, 6-0, 6-7 (half-time); 9-7, 9-10, 14-10.

Scorers: Glasgow Caledonians: Tries - A Nicol. Penalties - T Hayes (3). Llanelli: Tries - S Emms. Conversions - C Warlow. Penalty - B Hayward.