GLASGOW have got their PRO14 season up and running at the third time of asking, but they had to scrap all the way before claiming a narrow and barely deserved win over Cardiff.

The performance as well as the result was better than last week’s home loss to Scarlets, which in turn had been a distinct improvement on the dismal defeat by Cheetahs which began the season, but the Warriors are still a long way short of where they would like to be.

What made this game all the more frustrating was the splendid start made by the home team. Their problem last week had been the time it took them to get up to a decent tempo and the lapses of concentration they suffered before getting there. Those defects cost them the win against Scarlets, and against Cardiff they showed straight from kick-off that they were determined not to repeat them.

Twice in the opening minutes they turned down simple kicks at goal to send a penalty to touch, and at the second time of asking they piled over the try line straight from the line-out, with captain Callum Gibbins being credited with the score. Brandon Thomson converted from wide on the right, and the Warriors had exactly the start they wanted.

It got better, too, as the second try came just two minutes later. Nick Grigg was the creator with the half-break, and although his pass still left Nick Frisby with some work to do, the scrum-half was equal to the task, changing direction cleverly to evade what was left of the Blues defence.

Thomson added two more points, but if Glasgow fans thought they were in for a relaxing evening, they quickly had to think again. A line-out drive gave Cardiff a good platform for the first time, and a delayed pass saw Aled Summerhill break through a flimsy defence to open Cardiff’s account with a try which Jarrod Evans converted.

The Blues kept up the pressure, but after a relieving kick forced them back into their own half, they almost conceded from the line-out when Grant Stewart just failed to intercept a long pass by Lloyd Williams. Just inside the second quarter, however, they narrowed the deficit with an Evans penalty from the 10-metre line.

From dictating play, Glasgow had fallen off the pace. Ruaridh Jackson came off second best after a big hit by prop Brad Thyer, but, to the ire of the crowd, the officials were happy that a legitimate tackle attempt had been made. The half ended in ill-tempered fashion, and with Cardiff on top, leaving the Warriors with it all still to do

They needed the next score, and they got it a few minutes after the restart through a Thomson penalty from the edge of the 22, only for Evans to quickly reply. Then, in what was an increasingly frenetic encounter, a Glasgow attack was held up over the Blues line.

With 15 minutes left, Evans missed a long-range penalty, then Cardiff came close to running in a try. With five minutes to go, and Cardiff down a man after Rory Thornton’s sin-binning for taking Jackson out in the air, Thomson missed touch with a penalty from inside his own half that would have given his team a chance to build an attack while running down the clock. But Cardiff were error-prone too, and although they had one last play in which to snatch the game, their attack was snuffed out.