It was no surprise that Glasgow Hawk’s captain Andy Linton was smiling widely as he and the coaching staff had a debrief on the pitch after this opening day victory.
He had seen his side put in a great performance at Goldenacre for the second season in a row, while they had also gained revenge for the Scottish Cup final defeat back in April.
In the last few minutes of this exciting contest, Heriot’s were pounding the Hawks’ line trying to get an equalising score and replacement Gregor McNeish knocked-on just inches away.
However, given the way the 80 minutes had gone overall, it would have been unfair on Hawks had they not gone away with a 17-10 win.
From the off they played with a greater intensity than their hosts and, with Paddy Boyer and George Horne forming an exciting new-look half-back pairing, they posed more of a threat in attack.
The Heriot’s supporters were left scratching their heads, this lacklustre showing falling far short of the levels set by their coaching staff Phil Smith and Steve Lawrie.
Second-row Linton said: “I am really pleased with the performance. Last year when we came up we managed to play some good stuff and finish fifth and now we are looking to kick on from there. Like last year on the same ground, we got off to a good start and, although Heriot’s came back at us, I was pleased with the way we defended as a unit. There were still a few sloppy things in there which we will work on in training this week, but, as opening days go, it was one of the better ones.”
Before 15 minutes were up Hawks had raced into a 14-0 lead thanks to converted tries by Boyer and full-back Robbie Houliston.
Midway through the half, Heriot’s scored an unconverted try through centre Max Learmonth, but a penalty put Hawks 17-5 up at the interval.
Heriot’s pressed the self destruct button as the hour approached with both Learmonth and back-row Jason Hill getting sin-binned. Hawks could not take advantage, though, and a Cameron Ferguson try and two yellow cards for the visitors set up an exciting end.
Hawks, for whom back-row Finlay Gillies was a constant menace, held on, though, and, on this form, they could threaten the top four this season.
Scorers: Heriot’s – Tries: Learmonth, Ferguson. Glasgow Hawks – Tries: Boyer, Houliston. Pen: Horne. Cons: Horne (2).
Heriot’s: C Goudie; L Steele, M Learmonth, C Ferguson, H Boisseau; R Carmichael, G Wilson; G Cameron, B Couper, S Cessford, R Nimmo, B Cogley, M Douglas, J Hill, J Turley. Subs used: C Mulligan, N Borel, G McNeish K Buchan, C Simpson.
Glasgow Hawks: R Houliston; H McPherson, T Steven, N Herron, E Oag; G Horne, P Boyer; G Strain, J McFarlane, B Cullinane, A Linton, S Thomson, A Kirkland, K Beattie, F Gillies. Subs used: G Stewart, S Findlay, A Davidson, C Brodie, D Milne.
Referee: N A McMenemy