A LATE Gerard Hanson strike gave Glasgow Clan a glimmer of hope in the final minutes of their EIHL clash at Belfast Giants – but the league challengers held on to take a 5-4 win.

Giants took the lead inside the opening five minutes when Kyle Baun’s effort rebounding out to a wide position where Jordan Smotherman picked up on the right and smashed his shot into the roof of Joel Rumpel’s net.

Clan couldn’t get themselves into the game for much of the first period, with Jim Vandermeer testing Rumpel, but they somehow managed to get themselves level before retreating to the locker room.

Scott Pitt took a pass from Travis Ehrhardt and rifled an effort in from the inside left to equalise to end the first period on a positive note for Pete Russell’s side.

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Giants retook the lead in the early stages of the middle session when Blair Riley squared to Josh Roach in the centre and with one touch of the puck, opened up a gap and tucked it into the Clan net.

The third came five minutes later when Darcy Murphy got the final touch on a blue line shot from Kevin Raine to divert it in, opening a two goal lead. The visitors hit back to reduce the gap when a poor clearance came as far as Tyler Wilson, who fired on goal.

Belfast goalie Tyler Beskorowany spilled it into the path of Guillaume Doucet, perched nicely in front of the crease to force it over the line and the Clan had got it back to 3-2 in the final five minutes of the second period.

Giants restored the lead shortly after as Riley had time and space to send a low diagonal shot into the corner of the net, leaving Glasgow chasing a two-goal deficit going into the third period.

The visitors made it interesting with a third goal as Gerard Hanson tipped in an Ehrhardt shot and the gap was narrowed again, but only until Baun scored again to make it 5-3 with 11 minutes to go.

Another from Hanson in the final couple of minutes made it a nervy finale as Clan tried to salvage a point at least, but it wasn’t to be as the Giants kept their title hopes going with this victory, at the expense of Russell’s side