THANKS to the exploits of Edinburgh the previous evening, Glasgow Warriors' trip to Saracens was rendered a dead rubber, the aforementioned clubs guaranteed places in the quarter-final draw.

It is a phrase unique to the world of sport when a game is required to be played, despite it having no significance on the outcome of a tie.

But neither of these sides took any notice of that billing.

That terminology, however, was not necessarily correct. While a place in the knockout stages was secure, the outcome at Allianz Park could still shape the seedings for the last eight.

Hence the reason Glasgow were so pumped for this test and desperately chased a win and a bonus point throughout.

In the end, Saracens were too good, too big, and, more importantly, had too many potential match-winners. Evidence of that was Saracens' decision to rest England captain Owen Farrell ... or, more accurately, his sore thumb.

Regardless of missing personnel, it took just three minutes for Saracens to get into gear, a high tackle from Chris Fusaro giving scrum-half Ben Spencer the chance to knock over three points. Who needs Farrell?

Seven minutes in, it didn't get any better for the travelling Scots.

Spencer fed left, down the narrow side, from the breakdown, finding Dave Strettle, who ran through Grant Stewart before passing back inside for Spencer to touchdown for his seventh try in European Cup rugby.

Spencer caught his breath before kicking the conversion for 10-0.

With a quarter-final place assured ahead of this tie, you always expected Glasgow just might throw caution – and the ball – to the wind, and their response came quickly.

Hastings passed wide to Sam Johnson, who threw a long, quick pass to Stuart Hogg, who took two men out with his angle and pass, and gave Tommy Seymour a walk-in in the corner.

That score seemed to ignite Glasgow and they were soon level, a combination of belligerence and opportunism.

Spencer, behind the juggernaut Saracens pack, might have thought he was playing from his armchair. But Rob Harley, in his 201st game for Glasgow, got a sizeable hand on Spencer's attempted clearing kick, taking sting and distance out of it.

The ball went little more than 15 metres where it was pocketed by Ali Price, who showed pace to race over for the score. This time, Hastings converted. Warriors led 12-10.

The glory, and the lead, were short-lived.

Hogg bundled Lewington into touch before, from a penalty line-out, the Sarries eight – actually make that whatever number you like as backs joined in – bundled Vincent Koch over for the try. Spencer added the rest.

Did that knock Warriors? Not a bit.

Playing advantage, Hastings, through one of his now customary passes wide, stretched and tested the Saracens cover. Tommy Seymour carried three defenders as he came up inches short.

The power of Ryan Wilson, who ran a great line to find the weakest point in the home defence, couldn't be repelled, and Glasgow were in for a third try. Was this in the script?

Hastings, out wide, kicked the conversion and Glasgow were amazingly back in front and a score away from a bonus point which, in the grand scheme of things, would have had a few amateur mathematicians reaching for another gin.

Maybe the respective coaches – especially those masterminding defence – would have joined them after No 8 Billy Vunipola picked up from a scrum and smashed his way over for the try, the sixth in this game in less than half an hour.

Spencer, from the tee, was assured and Sarries were up 24-19.

This was exhibition stuff. It was also exhausting. Hogg's chip-kick set Glasgow going forward again and, but for a Nick Grigg knock-on when tackling Spencer, it might have been another profitable sortie for the Warriors.

After the non-stop nature of the opening period, it perhaps wasn't such of a surprise that the pace of this tie dropped after the turnaround, while defences tightened up markedly as well.

Both teams wanted a bonus point, and it was Saracens who assured themselves of theirs when Mako Vunipola, Jamie George and Will Skelton combined to create the opening for Itoje to finish. Lozowski added the extra points to leave Saracens uncatchable at 31-19 up.

Glasgow, bravely, attempted to run the ball out of their own in-goal area as they desperately tried to chase that bonus point.

However, in turning the ball over, they gave Saracens another chance to attack and Skelton scored their fifth try and the eighth of a hectic match.