EIGHT tries scored and some really pleasing rugby. Three tries conceded and some poor periods of play.

You can look at Glasgow Warriors’ 56-24 win over Zebre on Friday from two very different viewpoints. On the positive side, the bonus point was achieved twice over as the team did what they had to do in order to maintain their challenge for a play-off place in PRO14 Conference A.

On the negative, they made life unnecessarily difficult for themselves by being so loose and unstructured at times, principally during a long first-half spell in which the Italians fought back from an early 14-0 lead deficit to briefly take the lead.

We have been here before with Glasgow, and have learned to take the rough with the smooth. Sometimes you get the impression that the magic would disappear if they tightened up too much and put in a really disciplined 80-minute performance.

But on the other hand, unless they tighten up when they have to, they may not graduate to the next level and again become contenders for the title they won for the first time five years ago.

Dave Rennie, for one, believes a balance can be found between creativity and control, and at half time explained to his squad in no uncertain terms they needed to become more disciplined.

“He used some stern words,” winger DTH van der Merwe said. “We deserved it. Our biggest thing all week was to start well, and that’s what we did. But then to keep your foot on. You can’t let up. You play against teams like the Leinsters or the Munsters – if you play good rugby for 20 minutes but then give them a way in, you’re going to struggle at the end of the game.

“That’s probably the biggest frustrating thing – letting a team back in. But ultimately we still scored 50-odd points, but you can’t give them the easy tries in the game.

“It’s really frustrating. We played good rugby in the first 20 minutes. It was really tough against the wind; it was hard work, but it was fun and we scored two quick tries. But then if you don’t exit well, which is what happened . . . . We didn’t exit right, then they scored, they got a bit of momentum and used the wind.

“Obviously we want to look at those defensive errors we made. But we’re still chuffed with the result.”

Fourth in their conference, Glasgow still trail Leinster, Ulster and Cheetahs. The South Africans have a tough run of games coming up, and have to come to Scotstoun in April in a match which could have a major bearing on the shake-up. But even if the Cheetahs do start dropping points between now and then, the Warriors will only benefit if they become more consistent themselves.

“We haven’t looked at who’s coming up - we focused everything on Zebre this week,” Van der Merwe added. “It’s one of those kind of games you don’t want to underestimate your opponents, and if you do you can come unstuck. But we’re under no illusion that we need to win every game from now on. And that’s our goal till the end of the season.”

As the business end of the season approaches, a lot could depend on which Scotland players are released when to play for the Warriors, and how eager they are to send a message to national coach Gregor Townsend. George Horne certainly did against Zebre, scoring two tries in a man-of-the-match performance and being denied a hat-trick only by a high tackle which saw referee Joy Neville award a penalty try.

“That’s the great thing about the guys coming back. They got to put a bit of pressure on the national selectors,” Rennie said. “George has been in irresistible form for us all year.”

Horne was unused against England, with fellow-Warrior Ali Price playing from first to last. Price also started against Ireland, but Townsend may be tempted to shake his back division up a bit against Italy, especially as his team have failed to score a try in those first two Six Nations outings.

“He certainly has a nose for the try line, plus a massive work rate,” Rennie added about Horne. “There are a couple of good nines from here in the Scottish set-up, so it will be interesting to see who plays against Italy.”