Glasgow ...................... 30 Ulster ...................... 15

GLASGOW, who saw off the Irish challenge at Scotstoun yesterday, booked a Heineken Cup quarter-final play-off berth against Leicester at Welford Road in three weeks' time to become the only Scottish side to progress beyond the pool stages of Europe's showcase tournament.

The city side, by the frank admission of manager Hamish Fyfe, did not play particularly well against the Ulstermen.

This was a big game for Glasgow - probably the biggest in their 125-year history - and there had been nerves aplenty before the kick-off. They took a while to warm-up, played some grippingly fine rugby in the second quarter, but then retired into their collective shell after half-time.

It was, though, just as Fyfe observed, the sign of a competent team that they could still make it mission accomplished when playing far from their best.

Glasgow may well still have qualified for the play-offs yesterday as best third-placed team from the pools.

That would have meant a play-off against European champions Brive in France. For a while yesterday it looked as if this was the most likely scenario as Swansea held out against Wasps.

However, the single point win by Wasps over the Welshmen meant that Leicester Tigers, led by the Lions' skipper, Martin Johnson, will be Glasgow's next port of call on November 1 or 2 - the date has yet to be finalised.

Fyfe declared: ''We have been to Leicester before and we know what to expect at Welford Road. We much prefer Leicester to Brive.

''Of course, it means a lot to us to have qualified for the play-offs. I don't think the fact that we were the Scottish side most likely to win added to the pressure that we were under.

''Mostly, we wanted to do it for Glasgow.''

He added: ''The boys were very nervous today for the first 25 minutes. We made a lot of mistakes again and weren't looking very positive at that period in the game, but we worked ourselves out of that only to retire into our shells after half-time.

''However, I must commend the boys. They were very nervous, but they got us the result that we needed to get.''

Ulster drew first blood with the first of Stuart Laing's five penalty goals after seven minutes.

Glasgow had been under stiffish pressure from the Ulstermen in the opening few minutes, but Tommy Hayes - who recovered some of the form he had shown earlier in the tournament and showed that he can do more than just kick goals - levelled terms with a penalty goal five minutes later.

By midway through the opening half Glasgow had got up a head of steam and after a period of stern pressure on the Ulster line, when first Fergus Wallace and then brother Murray each came within a metre of scoring, Ulster were fringing offside.

Referee Gareth Simmonds had no hesitation in awarding a penalty try, which Hayes converted.

The stand-off, whom Fyfe declared again yesterday to have exerted a hugely beneficial influence on the side, had a penalty goal after 28 minutes, and five minutes later the ever-combative Fraser Stott romped in for a very fine try indeed.

The scrum half fed Derek Stark on the blind side from a scrummage, Stark stepped on the gas and off-loaded perfectly to James Craig, who had come across from the other wing.

The youngster set off on a mazy run for the line and, when his way was barred, Stott was on his shoulder to take the scoring pass. Hayes converted.

The stand-off was on the score-sheet again just two minutes later, this time with a try, and once again it was the pace of Stark which was the telling factor.

Chris Simmers made the initial break, Stark supplied the pace, and Hayes was on hand for the touchdown. He also converted.

Just before the interval a high tackle by Hayes on international winger James Topping let Laing slot over his second penalty goal and Glasgow reached the turn, well in command, with the scoreline standing at 27-6.

After the break, the impetus went out of the Glasgow effort.

Three penalties conceded within as many minutes let Laing convert two of them and, sud-denly, Ulster were back in with a shout.

The former Scotland A fly-half was successful again after 63 minutes.

However, a minute later Hayes made it 30-15 with his third penalty goal and Glasgow were home and dry.

It had been, as Fyfe, said a nervy and at times disjointed effort by Glasgow, but it was mission accomplished.

For the first time, Scotland had a team which had not bade farewell to the European Cup at the close of the knock-out stages.

SCORERS: Glasgow - Stott pt; 1t; Hayes 1t 3p 3c. Ulster - Laing 5p.

Glasgow - C Sangster; D Stark, C Simmers, M McGrandles, J Craig; T Hayes, F Stott; G McIlwham, G Bulloch, capt., A Kittle, M Norval, G Perrett, F Wallace, M Wallace, I Sinclair.

Substitutes - J Shaw for M Wallace (77 min).

Ulster - S McDowell; J Topping, M Jackson, M Field, I Cunningham; S Laing, A Matchett; G Leslie, S Ritchie, R Irwin, T McWhirter, G Longwell, S McKinty, capt., K Gallick, A Ward.

Substitutes - R Wilson for Gallick (57), M Rea for McWhirter (65).

Referee - G Simmonds (Wales).

q Heineken Cup quarter-final play-offs - Brive v Pontypridd, Leicester v Glasgow, Cardiff v Llanelli. Ties to be played on November 1 and 2.

Quarter-final draws for the European Conference are on Tuesday, October 14.