GLASGOW Warriors closed the gap with Munster at the top of PRO14 Conference A to a single point with this six-try victory - and perhaps more importantly, stretched their lead over Connacht to 14 points

While the issue of who tops the conference at the end of the regular season may be up in the air for some time, that lead is surely unassailable, and leaves Connacht apparently locked in a battle for third place with Ospreys, Cardiff and the Cheetahs.

The game got off to the best possible start for the home team, with a full score within the opening 50 seconds, and, while stretches of play were evenly contested, Glasgow never looked back.

“I’m always nervous when we start quick, cos you’re worried that the boys think it’s going to be easier than it really is,” Glasgow coach Dave Rennie said. “It was a pretty good performance, I thought. Really clinical. We had some young men out there who really fronted for us.

“Cardiff can get a little bit closer if they beat Edinburgh, but this was a really important game for us. We’ve picked up 14 points since the international boys have been out which is great.”

The early try came when Connacht’s kick-off was mauled back to halfway by the Glasgow pack, a tactic that both took the Irishmen by surprise and drew too many of their players into a tight defence. When the ball came out to the backs around halfway, a swift move from left to right gained considerable ground before Stafford McDowall delivered the coup de grace with a pass back inside to George Horne. The scrum-half scampered over, the stand-off added the two points, and the Warriors had the early initiative.

A Thomson penalty put his team 10-0 up, a lead that gave no indication of the extent to which Connacht had got back into the contest in open play. A score for the visitors looked like being only a matter of time, however, and it arrived when Niko Matawalu’s ill-advised dash out of the defensive line gave them an overlap on the right. Stephen Fitzgerald profited from it to touch in the corner from a scoring pass by Tiernan O’Halloran, but Conor Fitzgerald was again off target with the boot.

Glasgow were further rewarded for their adventurous play when Tim Swinson scored their second try from close range after Horne had been hauled down just short. Thomson again converted, and repeated the deed just before the interval as the Warriors rammed home their advantage. A penalty to touch led to another rolling maul from around 10 metres out, and hooker Grant Stewart applied the finishing touch.

Glasgow pressed for the bonus point straight from the restart, and they eventually got it after a spell in which the contest became bogged down in midfield. Still playing with a man advantage, they steadily made the pressure tell, and Stewart finished off with a well-timed burst from close range.

Thomson’s conversion took his team’s tally to beyond 30 points, which might have been the signal for the game to be tightened up. Instead, the Warriors continued to play in exuberant style, even though a rash of substitutions hampered their flow.

Connacht kept fighting for further scores, and after a couple of near misses they got one when Paul Boyle finished off from a metre out after his fellow-replacement Caolin Blade had been stopped short.

Stung by that score, Glasgow hit back to claim their fifth through substitute Robbie Nairn after a series of carefully controlled drives by the forwards. Tom Daly got one back for Connacht, but Nairn had the last word with his second try after collecting a delicately weighted chip ahead by Ruaridh Jackson.

Glasgow Warriors: R Jackson; K Steyn, P Kelly (R Nairn 57), S McDowall, N Matawalu (R Hughes 49); B Thomson, G Horne (N Frisby 67); O Kebble (J Bhatti 55), G Stewart (K Bryce 71), S Halanukonuka (A Nicol 65), T Swinson (T Gordon 65), S Cummings, R Harley, C Fusaro (captain), A Ashe (M Fagerson 62).

Connacht: T O’Halloran; S Fitzgerald, K Godwin, T Daly, M Healy (C Kelleher 67); C Fitzgerald (P Robb 51), K Marmion (C Blade 57); D Buckley (P McCabe 54), D Heffernan (S Delahunt 51), F Bealham (C Carey 52), C Gallagher, J Cannon (J Maksymiw 67), E McKeon, C Fainga’a (P Boyle 55), J Butler (captain).

Scorers: Glasgow Warriors: Tries: Horne (1min), Swinson (32), Stewart 2 (39, 46), Nairn 2 (66, 72). Conversions: Thomson 5. Penalty goal: Thomson (17).

Connacht: Tries: S Fitzgerald (21), Boyle (64), Daly (69). Conversion: Godwin.

Scoring sequence (Glasgow first): 7-0, 10-0, 10-5, 17-5, 24-5 (half-time), 31-5, 31-10, 38-10, 38-17, 43-17.

Referee: B Whitehouse (Wales).

Attendance: 7,246.