Scottish Borders.........9 Glasgow.........17

GLASGOW guaranteed their place in next season's European Cup last night at Philiphaugh and served themselves a timely tonic for next weekend's quarter-final play-off against Leicester as the Border Reivers' misery continued with their eighth successive defeat.

The Reivers now face something of a crisis and are finding it desperately difficult to shed the losing habit. Coach Rob Moffat said immediately afterwards: ''We're playing like a side which lacks confidence. We should have scored a couple of tries in the first half but didn't. We had some chances in the second half but didn't take them. We just lack confidence. Glasgow had a couple of chances and they took them. That's the difference.''

Glasgow, by comparison, were cock-a-hoop with their performance and doubly so because a below par performance last night would not have been ideal preparation for their crunch encounter with Leicester at Welford Road next Saturday.

Glasgow captain Gordon Bulloch declared: ''We were up for it. We knew that we had to get a result and put in a good performance. We knew that if we could do that then we would be set up for next weekend. If we had put in a shoddy performance then the attitude would not have been right for next weekend.''

Glasgow manager Hamish Fyfe added: ''The main thing from tonight is that we have qualified for Europe next season. We were trying to put the Leicester game to the back of our minds. Now, though, we can look forward to that game with confidence high.''

Glasgow's main strike weapon, James Craig, came off with a hand injury after 52 minutes, but the city camp is hopeful he will be restored to rude good health in time for the Welford Road showdown.

The Borderers, too, lost a key player with Craig Chalmers, who had heavy strapping on his recently injured knee, being carried off with an hour played. He had wrenched the knee in a tackle by John Shaw. Moffat, however, is hopeful that the Test fly-half will not be consigned to the sidelines yet again.

Last night's match was a poor advertisement for District rugby. Skill levels were low and the game lacked spark and continuity. The Glasgow pack, which came off second best against Edinburgh last weekend, held the whiphand against the Borderers, whose scrum and lineout work meant that they were always struggling to win usable first-phase possession.

The Reivers galloped off at a cracking pace and, after an arcing run from Tony Stanger had been stymied a metre short of the line, Chalmers missed with a penalty attempt. A minute later the stand-off made amends with a much more difficult effort from outside the 22.

Tommy Hayes, who played a literal game of two halves, with four misses at goal before striking four in succession, failed with his first attempt after 10 minutes. A high tackle on Cameron Murray allowed Chalmers to steer a second penalty shot between the uprights and the Borderers were six points to the good.

At this stage, the Reivers looked as though their miserable season was about to change for the good but then Glasgow's two speedy wings combined to produce the only try of the match. James Craig set up a floating pass which Derek Stark ran on to at great pace and Stark was over for a try at the corner flag.

Flags were a feature of the night's entertainment with the touch judges showing more bunting than is on parade at the Commonwealth beano in Edinburgh. It was from a flagged penalty that Hayes kicked Glasgow into the lead with the last kick of the openinhg half.

Seven minutes into the second period, Graeme Aitchison's profligate defensive kick saw Hayes return the ball with interest for a lineout at which the Borderers were penalised. Hayes, who had recovered the kicking muse, was on target.

The Borderers were now facing an uphill struggle. Glasgow scented victory and the Reivers, just as their coach said, were too inclined to panic when openings emerged. They were just too keen to put the horror story of seven straight defeats behind them.

Hayes and Chalmers traded penalty goals and still the Reivers were staring another defeat full in the face. Their cause was not helped when, with nine minutes remaining, they were awarded a penalty which would have put them back in the race. However, Scott Welsh - on for Chalmers - chose to kick for position at the corner flag. The ball was sent into touch-in-goal and at that stage in the proceedings it was a crucial error.

Hayes, who will now almost certainly be with Glasgow again next season, had a penalty goal seven minutes from the end and the Borderers' misery was complete. Glasgow, though, find themselves in fine fettle for next weekend's showdown in Leicester. Teams:

SCORERS: Scottish Borders - Chalmers 3p. Glasgow - Stark 1t; Hayes 4p.

Scottish Borders - Aitchison; Nichol, Stanger, Murray, Dods; Chalmers, Fairley; McIlroy, Hay, Ferguson, Brown, Fullarton, C Redpath, Hogg, Roxburgh. Substitutes - Welsh for Chalmers (60), Aitken for Redpath (78).

Glasgow - Sangster; Stark, Simmers, McGrandles, Craig; Hayes, Stott; McIlwham, Bulloch, Kittle, Norval, Perrett, Wallace, Mcleish, Shaw.

Substitutes - F Wallace for M Wallace (13min), Fraser for Craig (52), Metcalfe for Simmers (73).

Referee - J Bacigalupo (Edinburgh Wanderers)