A LATE penalty by Duncan Weir, and a fighting spirit that was in evidence from first to last, got Glasgow’s Challenge Cup campaign off to a winning start yesterday.

The Warriors were never behind in the Pool A game, and although the contest hung in the balance right until the end, they thoroughly deserved their victory.

Franco Smith had insisted he had not selected a weakened squad for this game, a claim that was hard to credit given the head coach had rested so many of his first-choice players. But while this line-up may have looked like a second string on paper, their performance was first rate, vindicating Smith’s confidence in them.

“I’m extremely proud,” Smith said. “To have a good team, you must have a good squad and we showed that today.

“The scoreline apart, the character the players showed and the way they went about their business was what we need in our squad and in our environment. So I was really proud of that.

“I think everyone stepped up to the plate today. That’s what we asked – to forget about where we were playing, to play with enthusiasm and belief in our systems. We got that.”

Glasgow began the match brightly, and giant lock Lewis Bean gave them a deserved lead with an unconverted try, crunching his way through the defence from close range. Then hooker George Turner finished off from a line-out drive, and Domingo Miotti added the two points to make it 12-0 after quarter- of-an-hour.

Bath hit back with a touchdown from Wesley White, and then Fergus Lee-Warner finished off for their second. Former Edinburgh stand-off Piers Francis converted that score after missing the first, and the home side were level at 12-12.

But if the home side thought the tide had turned, they were proven wrong in the last minute of the half as Huw Jones marked his second debut for Glasgow with a superb score that left three defenders trailing in his wake. Miotti converted to make it 19-12 at the break.

After a scoreless third quarter, Bean was yellow-carded for straying offside at the breakdown as Bath began to exert more pressure.

Within minutes the 15 men made their numerical advantage count, with Matt Gallagher finishing off in the left corner. Francis produced a superb kick from the touchline to make it 19-19.

Again, it appeared that the momentum was firmly with the home side, but the Warriors fought back once more, and with five minutes to go they were awarded a breakdown penalty. From about 30 metres out, Weir, off the bench for his first game time in nearly three months, curled his kick just inside the posts.

Bath still had time to salvage the match, but in truth they could have been given 25 minutes without getting anywhere. Glasgow were not going to let this one get away, and, after going eight months without an away win, have now claimed two in eight days following their victory at Zebre last week.

“We’re actually disappointed, because we created so many opportunities that weren’t converted,” Smith added. “We should have scored at least another once or twice in the first half, and then in the second we camped on the line, got held up and were turned over.

“That was a pity, but the way we stuck to our guns when they scored on the other side and it went to 19-all, you could clearly see that the guys were concentrating on what they had to do, not what they wanted to do.”

Perpignan are next up at Scotstoun on Friday in the second of two back-to-back pool games in European rugby’s second tier.

Smith may have planned to bring some of his big guns back for that, if only to give them match time before the 1872 Cup double-header, but after this display it would be no surprise if he made minimal changes.

Scorers, Bath – Tries: White, Lee-Warner, Gallagher. Cons: Francis 2.

Glasgow: Tries: Bean, Turner, Jones. Cons: Miotti 2. Pen: Weir.

Bath: T de Glanville; J Cokanasiga, O Lawrence, C Redpath, M Gallagher (O Bailey 65); P Francis, B Spencer (captain); A Cordwell (L Boyce 27), T Dunn (N Annett 73), D Rae (J Jonker 73), D Attwood (T Ellis 65), F Lee-Warner (W Spencer 65), T Hill, W White (R de Carpentier 73), J Bayliss.

Glasgow: O Smith; K Steyn (captain), H Jones, S McDowall, R McLean; D Miotti (D Weir 57), J Dobie (S Kennedy 57); J Bhatti (N McBeth 75), G Turner (A Fraser 57), S Berghan (L Sordoni 64), L Bean, J du Preez (R Gray 64), R Wilson (W Fifita 79), C Neild, J Mann (E Ferrie 57).

Referee: A Marbot (France).

Attendance: 11,251.