DAVE BARRETT'S last kick seemed to hang in the air for an age.

From the vantage point of the old stand at Burnbrae, the ball looked to be heading wide of the right-hand post, but it wobbled in flight, turned, then dropped over the bar. Briefly, there was a stunned silence around the ground. And then an almighty roar.

Today marks the 25th anniversary of that moment. With his kick, Barrett not only sealed Glasgow's 18-15 victory over the Anglo-Scots, but also gave them the Inter-District Championship for the first time in 15 years. At the end of a lean decade in which they had become accustomed to heavy defeats, Glasgow were finally on top of the pile.

The city's more recent rugby converts, sated by the successes of the Warriors, might find it hard to believe, but for most of the 1980s Glasgow was a rugby backwater. Edinburgh and the Borders were the dominant forces of the time, a duopoly challenged only by the emergence of the Anglos towards the end of the period. When Scotland beat France 21-12 to win the Grand Slam in 1984, there was not a single Glasgow player in the team.

Barrett can still recall the bad times. "We were getting annihilated at times," says the 51-year-old former full-back, now head of PE at High School of Glasgow. "But it all began to come together that season and we got a bit of belief that we weren't really all that bad."

Two things had happened. The first was the rise of Stirling County - still officially within the Glasgow district at that time - whose young, feisty side had surged through the divisions to become one of the country's top clubs. The second was the preliminary work that had been done on an unbeaten pre-season tour of Ireland and a 22-11 victory over Fiji that October. While other district teams were hastily cobbled together for the championship, Glasgow had forged an identity and a gameplan.

Richie Dixon, who would go on to take charge of Scotland in the mid 1990s, was the coach at the time, and Barrett believes he was a huge influence. "He was very impressive," says Barrett, who also coaches Strathendrick these days. "He had been there through the harder times, but he gave us a lot of belief in ourselves."

Glasgow kicked off their championship campaign against Edinburgh on the last Saturday of November. It began in farcical circumstances when Hughenden, the original venue, was deemed unplayable because of frost and the game was switched to New Anniesland just half an hour before kick-off. It ended in a 19-19 draw.

There was a suggestion at the time that Edinburgh had not taken the game seriously. David Sole and Scott Hastings were absent, playing for the Barbarians against New Zealand, and they needed a late penalty to salvage their point. But if they had treated Glasgow with disdain, the Stirling County contingent were more than happy to punish them for their attitude.

"It was their emergence that really changed the team," recalls Barrett. "Ken Crichton, the team manager, used to drive them down to training from Stirling in the minibus, and because I live in Blanefield he would sometimes give me a lift as well. There were maybe as many as 13 Stirling players in it, so they were obviously a huge influence on the side."

Stirling County had established a youth system that was the envy of every other club in the country. The players who had come off that conveyor belt over the previous few seasons were among some of the best they had ever produced, with hard-nosed characters like McKenzie and George Graham in the front row and Ian Jardine at centre.

There also something of the Millwall factor about them. "I'm not sure if the rest of us felt that way, but they very much had it," says Barrett. "They had a chip on their shoulders because they perceived that they were disliked. And I suppose it was understandable because they certainly weren't everybody's favourites.

"They were very much rough and ready. There weren't many from what you'd call the professions and they were quite happy to take anybody on at anything. That probably helped us quite a lot."

With five districts in the championship, Glasgow sat out the second round of games, but returned to action in mid December to take on North and Midlands. Again, poor weather led to the game being relocated, this time by a rather greater distance as it was moved from Inverness to Hawkhill, the Leith Academicals ground that was just about the only playable pitch in Scotland that weekend. Against a backdrop of rain, snow and driving wind, Glasgow ground out a 19-10 win.

One week later they were in the Borders, scene of so many humiliations in the past. This time, though, they dished out a rugby lesson, beating a South team that included Gary Armstrong, John Jeffrey and Tony Stanger 22-10. The Anglo-Scots, meanwhile, had won all three of their games. The title decider was on.

And so to Burnbrae. The Exiles - including Gavin Hastings, Damian Cronin and Derek White - had made it known they would be flying home straight after the match, curtailing opportunities for traditional socialising, and it was perceived as a slight against their hosts. Twenty-five years on, the accusation of aloofness sounds absurd, but Glasgow were happy to use it to stoke their own fires.

Glasgow did not have one capped player in their ranks. Barrett recalls: "I remember thinking at the time that we could play on the fact that they had some big names and they could swagger up thinking everything was done and dusted."

The game itself was no classic, a tense, nip-and-tuck affair. Nick Grecian, the Anglos winger, scored a try (then still worth four points), a conversion and a penalty, and fly-half Richard Cramb dropped two goals. But Barrett kept Glasgow in it with five penalties to take the score to 15-15. A draw would have given the Anglos the title, but with seconds remaining they infringed at a lineout and Barrett's moment had come.

"I wasn't nervous at all," he says. "I don't remember thinking that it would be the end of the world if I missed, although I might have thought how great it would be to get it."

It was indeed. First, there was the acclaim of the crowd. Then a party that started at Burnbrae, and moved on to Anniesland before the details became cloudy. Barrett had a barrage of media requests the next day. "It was quite an odd time," he remembers.

It got stranger still. Two days later, when the Scotland selectors named their sides for the national trial, only two Glasgow players - Graham and Jardine - were included, and both of them in the Reds, the junior team. Neither was subsequently promoted to the Test side in what became, in fairness, another Grand Slam season.

But Barrett, who won three Scotland B caps, prefers to remember what did happen, not what didn't: "There will be people in that team who I haven't seen for 25 years, but if I bumped into them tomorrow we'd just pick up where we left off. We were a very close-knit group of people. We have got ourselves into a position that we probably didn't expect to be in, but we decided we could do it."