Edinburgh .............. 25 Caledonia Reds .............. 9

EDINBURGH confounded the critics and, at long last, produced the kind of display of which they have long been capable yesterday at Inverleith, where they lowered the colours of reigning champions Caledonia Reds and, in the process, threw a spanner into the perceived wisdom version of the European qualifying works.

The Border Reivers are now precariously exposed as the only district side not to have won a match in this European Qualifying Tournament and, with three from four going into the cup as opposed to the Conference, the final outcome hangs in the balance until the EQT resumes at the beginning of January.

Yesterday, Edinburgh looked the side more likely to succeed even before a couple of hammer blows to the Reds' back-row line-up. Dave McIvor took an elbow in the face right at the kick-off and, although he soldiered on throughout the first half, a repeat dose in the very first ruck of the second half meant that he was sidelined for good.

Then, with just short of an hour played, Reds captain Rob Wainwright limped to the sidelines with what coach Ian Rankin said was an Achilles injury. This is an area which has proved desperately troublesome for the British Lion in the past and Reds - and Scotland for that matter - will be hoping that it is not a recurrence of that old trouble.

The Edinburgh pack, who took the game to the Reds with real relish, laid the platform for a convincing win. The try tally tells its own story. Edinburgh scored a brace of touchdowns to none from Caley. Even when the Reds did seem to be getting up a head of steam - as they often did - the capital side's defence proved to be more than equal to the task.

Edinburgh coach Bob Easson said: ''We played to our potential today. We have always been capable of turning in a performance like that but, until now, we have not done so consistently. We took the game to them. That was the intention. To have a real go. We did that for 80 minutes and got the result that we deserved.''

His Caley counterpart, Ian Rankin, who had said beforehand that a victory would have allowed his side to have a more restful festive season, has been denied that wish.

Caley host Glasgow at Aberdeen on January 4 and on the same day Edinburgh entertain the Reivers. Just as Easson said, both games now take on the appearance of cup finals with the prize a place on the big European stage.

Caledonia drew first blood with a Rowen Shepherd penalty goal in the fourth minute. However, and unlike the other matches in this tournament, this was not the setting of a general trend. Chuck Muir refereed the match sympathetically and the large crowd were thankful for that.

Eight minutes later Graham Dall - a throroughbred open-side flanker - broke away for a try and Edinburgh took a lead which they were never, thereafter, to lose.

Duncan Hodge, switched late from stand-off to centre with Murray Craig unfit, failed with a penalty attempt before banging one over to increase the leeway. Then Shepherd and Hodge exchanged successful penalties to leave Edinburgh 11-6 in front at the turn.

In a second half much more entertaining than the first, Hodge put Edinburgh further ahead with a penalty goal and Shepherd pulled one back for the Reds.

Just after Wainwright's departure Hodge made it 17-9 with another successful penalty shot and five minutes from the end Darren Burns raced 40 metres for a touchdown from a scrummage heel against the head.

Hodge added another penalty goal in the final minute and the scale of Edinburgh's victory was, in the end, emphatic.

SCORERS: Edinburgh - Dall 1, Burns 1t, Hodge 5p. Caledonia Reds - Shepherd 3p.

Edinburgh - Aitken; Caldwell, Hastings, Hodge, McLean; Ross, Burns; McNulty, McKelvey, Stewart, Burns, Blair, McVie, Reid, Dall. Substitutes - Henderson for McLean (53min), Beveridge for Burns (76), Paul for McNulty (77).

Caledonia Reds - Shepherd; Officer, Longstaff, Rouse, Kerr; McKenzie, Patterson; Anderson, Scott, Penman, Campbell, Grimes, McIvor, Flockhart, Wainwright. Substitutes - White for McIvor (43), Manson for Wainwright (58), Easson for McKenzie (61).

Referee - C Muir, Langholm.