Glasgow Warriors kept their ambition of a place in the knock-out stages of this season’s PRO14 firmly on track at Scotstoun with victory over Toyota Cheetahs, so keeping their advantage over Munster at the top of Conference A. But, it was a performance which frustrated Glasgow coach Dave Rennie.

“That was an important five points, in a weekend on our side of the draw where everyone seems to get five points,” said a rueful Rennie. “It was important to keep that buffer, ahead of Connacht and Cardiff, and three points ahead of Munster.

“There might have been a few times when we said stop kicking the ball for them [Cheetahs]. We were loose late in the game, too many dinky kicks. We were at our best when we sat on the ball, carried it and built some pressure. But we felt we just meandered our way through that.”

For this tie, Rennie was missing a dozen players through injury, plus several who were still being rested after the Six Nations. In addition his team was picked with an eye to Saturday’s European Cup quarter-final against Saracens, where a full complement would be a useful asset, so no risks were taken, especially around Glasgow’s star turns. Nevertheless, fit-again co-captain Callum Gibbins needed game time, while hooker Fraser Brown also started after his brief appearance at Twickenham.

Indeed it was Brown, in winning a penalty at the breakdown, who gave his side the first chance to get their hands on the ball after a blisteringly fast start from the South Africans. Their tactics were clear from the off; move the ball quickly and be direct, their preferred route being up the middle. But from the penalty line-out, Warriors opened the scoring.

Glasgow drove from the set-piece, enabling Gibbins to peel off and through the cover defence for the try, Pete Horne, selected at fly-half, banging over the conversion.

That did little to subdue the visitors, and but for some handling errors, they might have forced their hosts back further in to their own territory. When they got it right, they put their first points on the board. Off first-phase ball they spun the ball along their back line, Janse van Rensburg’s floated pass over the top enabling winger William Small-Smith to race around Ruaridh Jackson and in on the corner.

That served as a wake-up call for Glasgow who retaliated almost immediately with a converted score, centre Kyle Steyn thundering on to Horne’s flat pass to carry all before him and in for the try. Glasgow led 14-5.

In an almost identical move, Matt Fagerson burst on to Tim Swinson’s feed but was held up five metres short. It did give Glasgow great field position, the pressure applied by the Warriors pack resulting in a series of penalties, and eventually a try for winger Rory Hughes, who picked up from a ruck to cross untouched. Horne stretched the lead to 21-5 with the conversion.

Glasgow’s tight five had put down a marker, in terms of dominating the scrum. Finally, after sufficient warnings from referee George Clancy, Charles Marais, the Cheetahs loose-head was yellow carded for collapsing the scrum. But, even a man short, the Cheetahs reached the interval without conceding more points. Not only that, they opened the scoring in the second half. Replacement hooker Joseph Dweba charged over from short range and suddenly Glasgow only led 21-12.

Glasgow made an enforced switch in 52 minutes, Horne limping off to be replaced by Adam Hastings at 10. Five minutes on, Stafford McDowall was at the end of some great running, picking up to drag himself and Tian Schoeman over the line for the bonus-point try. Hastings banged over the extra points and Glasgow looked in a far better position 28-12 up.

With all five points secured, Rennie began making changes, again with an eye on that Saracens test. And it was one of those replacements, Scott Cummings, who bagged Warriors fifth try, Hastings converting.

All that was left was for Small-Smith to grab a consolation try.

Scorers – Glasgow: Tries: Gibbins, Steyn, Hughes, McDowall, Cummings. Cons: Horne 3, Hastings 2.

Cheetahs: Tries: Small-Smith 2, Dweba. Con: Schoeman.

Glasgow: Jackson; Matawalu, Steyn, McDowall (Kelly 75), Hughes (Nairn 70); P.Horne (Hastings 52), Frisby; Kebble (Bhatti 60), Brown (Stewart 60), Z.Fagerson (Halanukonuka 66), Swinson (Flockhart 68), Cummings, Harley, Gibbins (Fusaro 66), M.Fagerson.

Cheetahs: Jaer; Small-Smith, van Rensburg, Swanepoel, Maxwane; Schoeman (Fouche 75), Meyer (S.Venter 45); Marais (de Bruin 75), van der Merwe (Dweba 30), Coetzee (R.Venter 45) , Manjezi (Basson 61), Steenkamp (du Preez 75), Maartens, Nonkontwana, H.Venter.