Edinburgh 23 Glasgow 7

The first instalment of a festive double-header in the oldest inter-city derby in world rugby was decided by two moments of clinical finishing by Edinburgh winger Duhan van der Merwe.

However, in this season of giving, it could equally be deemed that Edinburgh were handed this match on a plate, gift-wrapped, by Adam Hastings.

Young and talented, two moments of madness from the Scotland deputy stand-off, cost Glasgow dearly in a game that seldom glittered or shone, apart perhaps from Duhan van der Merwe man of the match opportunism.

These fixtures have become, in this century, jewels in the crown for Scottish rugby and the PRO14 league as well – much changed from the times, even in the 1980s, when there would be more national and district selectors, committee and office bearers, and bar flies outnumbering anyone deemed a supporter or of a neutral nature.

There was no way those charged with getting Scotland right for the international stage next term were going to miss this one, national coach Gregor Townsend ensconced in the main stand. Neither were any of the rival supporters.

In advance of 21,190 was the guestimation.

The early action was frenetic, both sides appearing up for this one. The tackles were hard, as was the running, and the commitment was nothing short of total, witnessed by Grant Stewart’s flying, linebacker-esque take-out of Bill Mata.

Edinburgh led through a Jaco van der Walt penalty, but then were gifted a try 12 minutes in.

Adam Hastings, running at the Edinburgh defensive line just inside enemy territory, tried to find Nick Grigg, but only found the shape of Duhan van der Merwe who, with a brief juggle, took possession and headed 50-plus metres for the corner.

The demarcation lines among the gathered throng were instantly identified; Warriors fans held their head in their hands, Edinburgh supporters waved theirs vigorously.

Van der Walt added the extra points and Edinburgh led 10-0.

And it was Van der Walt’s unerring accuracy from the tee that took Edinburgh to a 13-0 lead.

Dave Rennie’s side, despite the odd flash of enthusiasm behind the scrum and usually from George Horne, just weren’t making any headway against a resolute Edinburgh defence.

When Darcy Graham was penalised, Glasgow kicked for the corner but, despite a clean take off the line-out, Edinburgh stymied the driven maul, capital loosehead Pierre Schoeman playing a significant part in that play.

Nothing much was functioning for Glasgow or, more to the point, they were not being given the chance to play.

Stuart Hogg had a dancing run that came to nowt, while Hastings, often the instigator with his probing kicks, chipped into space for Tommy Seymour to run into, but Blair Kinghorn fielded, despite being hounded.

As the half drew to a close, Glasgow held the territorial upper hand and made it count, a sibling set-up and score, George Horne kicking off the base of the ruck for brother Peter, making his 150th appearance in a Warriors shirt, to catch and ground.

Hastings added the conversion and from nowhere, the deficit was just six points as they trotted in for the interval, apart from the Glasgow front row of Oli Kebble, Grant Stewart and Siua Halanukonuka who were already being given a lecture by Glasgow assistant coach Jonathan Humphries before they made it off the field.

The second-half followed similar patterns to the first 40.

Glasgow probed, but never found the gaps, while Edinburgh held a solid line. The not insignificant travelling support tried to lend their voice to the cause, a slick loop between the Horne boys generating momentum for Glasgow. However, again, it all petered out with Hastings’ back flick finding touch rather than DTH van der Merwe.

In contrast, Edinburgh kept the scoreboard clicking over. Duhan van der Merwe broke and kicked on, James Johnstone gathered and was only halted by Hogg’s despairing tackle.

However, Glasgow, or more precisely Callum Gibbins, killed the ball. Van der Walt got three points, Gibbons a yellow card.

It got better for Edinburgh, worse for Hastings. He threw a no-hope ball wide, seeing Seymour, but found Duhan van der Merwe, and he was gone. And so was Hastings, immediately subbed as van der Walt kicked the conversion.

Edinburgh led 23-7 and it was as good as job done after less than an hour.

Nick Grigg did his best to impersonate Hastings, chucking a speculative pass that Henry Pyrgos intercepted.

Thankfully, for Glasgow, he ran out of steam and chose to kick, thus sparing further blushes and punishment.

Scorers: Edinburgh – Tries: D Van der Merwe 2. Cons: van der Walt 2.

Pens: van der Walt 3

Glasgow – Tries: P Horne. Cons: Hastings