Ulster 32

Glasgow Cal 15

IT is now plain and simple - to reach the quarter-finals of the European Cup, the Scottish superteams have the proverbial mountain to climb.

As the Reivers were going down to Munster, the Reds found themselves overwhelmed by the the top Irish province, Ulster, in front of a vociferous 4,000 crowd at Ravenhill.

A first-half try by centre Chris Simmers kept the Reds in with a chance of finding their second friendly win of the season, but that hope evaporated in a second period in which the powerful Ulster pack picked up the momentum and showed pace and craft behind the scrum to expose frailties in the visiting defence.

Chris Paterson attempted to provide a lead in what proved a confident Reds' debut by the 20-year-old, but a concerted period of attack brought reward for the hosts in the sixth minute when full-back Simon Mason kicked three points. Paterson levelled the scores with a well-taken penalty in the ninth minute.

Two more Mason penalties put Ulster back in front before the Scots finally exposed a gap with a try. A flowing move saw No.8 Gordon Simpson make a decisive break into the Ulster 22, off-load to Iain Jardine, who found fellow centre Chris Simmers, and he held off tackles to go over from 10 metres out. Paterson converted well from wide on the left.

From the restart, however, Ulster were back on the attack and, for the remainder of the half, they allowed their visitors precious little possession.

The Reds were dealt a stiff blow with three minutes of the half left when Ulster No.8 Tony McWhirter, who re-joined the Irishmen from Dundee HSFP in the summer, dived over after a series of scrums on the Reds' line. Mason converted to put the hosts 16-10 up at the interval.

Although still very much in it, in terms of the scoreline, any hopes of a comeback were lost in a 16-point surge from Ulster.

Two further Mason penalties, a drop goal from stand-off David Humphries and a try by scrum-half Andy Matchett, converted by Mason, had the Reds struggling to keep their head above water.

Left wing Derek Stark provided some cheer for the Reds coaches when he touched down in the corner, after a superb 40-metre break by Paterson with seven minutes remaining, but it did little to dampen the party spirits of the Belfast crowd.

Ulster: S. Mason; J. Davis, S. McDowell (S. Coulter), M. McCall, J. Cunningham; D. Humphries, A. Matchett; J.Fitzpatrick, A. Clarke (R. Weir), G. Leslie (R. Irwin), M. Rea (M.Blair), G. Longwell, A. Ward, A. McWhirter (C. McCarey ).

Glasgow Caledonians: R. Shepherd (A. Collins); A. Bulloch, C.Simmers, I. Jardine, D. Stark; C. Paterson, D. Patterson (F. Stott); G. McIlwham, C. Docherty (T. Smith), A. Kittle (W. Anderson), S. Campbell, G. Perrett (S. Grimes), J. White, G.Flockhart (J. Shaw), G. Simpson.

Referee: R. McDowell (Munster).