Christmas came early for Glasgow Warriors on an evening of double celebration as they recorded a 22-10 victory over Edinburgh in the first leg of the 1872 Cup to secure top spot in the URC table. 

Scotland’s two professional sides faced off amid dreadful conditions as the hosts claimed bragging rights after a clinical second-half display. Glasgow clinched the 1872 Cup last season with a 48-35 triumph after winning both games and they will travel to Murrayfield next week with a 12-point advantage. 

It was far from a classic at a sold-out Scotstoun as Ali Price endured a quiet first return to his former ground despite the pre-match billing. Glasgow were miles from their free-blowing best but they capitalised on Grant Gilchrist’s sin-binning to score two crucial tries during an impressive final 15 minutes.

"The conditions were difficult but we stuck to the process," a delighted Franco Smith declared. "Edinburgh were a big physical challenge tonight, but our process took us through. The guys that came on did their job. I'm really proud of how the guys stepped up. We know Edinburgh are a fantastic side, and we don't expect less next week. They will want to redeem what happened tonight, but we'll enjoy Christmas first."

Glasgow made the dominant start and they were awarded two early penalties. Ross Thompson initially kicked for the corner as the hosts set up their interminable maul before Edinburgh were pinged again and Thompson opted for the posts to establish an early three-point lead. 

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There was rivalry between the two teams but also fascinating battles between international colleagues in front of Scotland boss Gregor Townsend and Rory Darge smashed Hamish Watson to earn rapturous applause from the home faithful. 

Edinburgh settled after being put under pressure early on and Stafford McDowall had to be alert to race back to ground James Lang’s dangerous grubber kick on 10 minutes to allow Thompson to clear through a goal-line drop out. 

Franco Smith sprang a selection surprise by deploying Huw Jones in an unfamiliar position on the wing and Edinburgh almost capitalised on his charged down kick, but they gained a scrum deep in Glasgow’s 22. It felt like a significant moment in the encounter as the two packs went to head-to-head and a triumphant roar rang around the stands - and amongst the Glasgow forwards - when referee Sam Grove-White penalised Pierre Schoeman with a penalty.

It was a scrappy opening period but Glasgow showcased their exciting brand of rugby when Kyle Rowe scored a superb first try on 18 minutes. The impressive McDowall smashed a hole in the Edinburgh defence before Josh McKay produced a sublime offload to release George Horne. With Horne at the bottom of the ruck, Jones deputised at scrum-half to feed Thompson in the Edinburgh 22 and his deep pass created an overlap opportunity for McKay to float the ball towards Rowe for a relatively easy finish. 

Edinburgh’s back three options are the envy of clubs across URC. Darcy Graham and Duhan van der Merwe are amongst the most feared wingers in world rugby - with Argentinian international Emiliano Boffelli also returning from injury as a replacement - but Edinburgh failed to deliver quality ball to their prized assets all night.

Glasgow suffered a blow as half-time approached when George Turner suffered a shoulder injury with try-scoring machine Johnny Matthews entering the fray as his replacement. 

Edinburgh tried to play expansive rugby but Glasgow defended superbly with Zander Fagerson formidable. However, they eventually caved minutes before the interval after relentless pressure from Edinburgh’s pack. 

They bulldozed towards the line as they motored through the phases and they were rewarded for their perseverance when WP Nel dived over from close range with Ben Healy slotting the conversion to make it a one-point game. In the final action of the first half, Healy had the chance to give Edinburgh the lead with a penalty from half-way but he dragged his effort wide as Glasgow went in with an 8-7 advantage. 

The rain became torrential as the players reemerged for the second half and the conditions weren’t conducive for attractive rugby. Edinburgh started in the ascendancy after the interval and they were rewarded through Healy’s penalty as they deservedly moved into the lead for the first time on 48 minutes.

Glasgow struggled to find their rhythm all evening and even their renowned maul faltered at a key stage in the second half. The hosts won two line-outs just ten metres from Edinburgh’s line but Johnny Matthews was unable to find a teammate on either occasion as the visitors repelled danger.

Glasgow’s inability to convert those opportunities led to mild boos when replacement Tom Jordan passed up the opportunity to regain the lead from a penalty as he opted to kick for the corner - but it absolutely proved to be the right decision. Edinburgh were penalised for collapsing the maul on three occasions before ref Grove-White lost patience and sinbinned Grant Gilchrist. With the Edinburgh captain in the bin, Glasgow capitalised from the rolling maul as the unstoppable Matthews powered over for his ninth try of the season - Horne kicked the extras to make it 15-10. 

Glasgow refused to ease up as they kept Edinburgh pinned in their 22 as they made their man advantage count. Fresh from his stunning try against Bayonne last Friday night, Ally Miller highlighted his try-scoring ability to collect McKay’s pass with Horne slotting him the penalty to ensure Glasgow travel to Murrayfield next week with a healthy lead.

Man of the match, Josh McKay was delighted with Glasgow's victory: “Obviously it was massively important to come through with the win. This is always a game you look out for on the calendar. It’s always around Christmas, a special time of year. We didn’t want to lose at home either so to come out and get the win – we’re happy with that.

“The weather was pretty atrocious, it was howling a gale too. It was the sort of game where you’ve got to dig deep so full credit to our forwards. They had to roll their sleeves up for most of the 80 minutes and get into their work. 

“We had to stay disciplined and not piggyback pens. We had to hope we could turn the arm wrestle. It was good to watch the lads crash over the line, that’s for sure.”