How Gordon Reid enjoyed Warriors' century by taming Tigers

Glasgow beat Leicester by a handy 29-point margin and they did so with a makeshift midfield after Alex Dunbar was taken ill and Sam Johnson disappeared for a head injury assessment.

Gordon Reid: Led the forward charges
Gordon Reid: Led the forward charges
Gordon Reid: Led the forward charges

But a glance at the stats suggests it should have been more. The home team carried for 537 metres against 138 for the Tigers and made 11 line breaks against, err, nil for the visitors.

The Warriors butchered several cast-iron scoring opportunities: Rory Hughes was held up over the line, a long series of attacking set plays in the second half were all repulsed and then the centurion prop Gordon Reid, affectionately known as “Goon”, allowed a scoring pass to slip between his fingers and into touch. The corner flag bore the brunt of his frustration.

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“I was looking for the celebration,” he explained in jest, “obviously kiss the ball and point to the sky. My thumbs are fingers so I knocked it on out the pitch. I was disappointed, but these things happen.”

Still, a 42-13 defeat of last year’s semi-finalists wasn’t a bad way to wrap up your 100th appearance in Glasgow colours.

“I wish I could celebrate it a wee bit more with that try. The corner flag will wake up tomorrow pretty sore. No, it was amazing to go out there. They’re a big team, forward-oriented. I thought we did pretty well.

“We knew they thought they were coming up here to give us a good battle in the scrum, have one over 
on us, but we knew what to expect. We went out there, we gave our all, and we came away with a good result.”

All too often in the past Glasgow have been stifled in Europe by gargantuan forward packs, ground down in a wrestling match they didn’t want. For the first 15 minutes it looked like the same thing would happen again.

Whether it was the outrageous tip tackle on Finn Russell that got Glasgow’s dander up or just the realisation that the same old performance would bring about the same old result, something galvanised the home team like spinach on Popeye. Ignore the margin of victory and marvel instead at the manner of it.

Glasgow played their high tempo game, at least they did whenever Leicester’s forwards weren’t lying all over the ball, but Glasgow’s big men took on the much-vaunted Leicester pack ocho y ocho and it was a case of the King’s new clothes… there was nothing there.

After success with the tactic, it was only to be expected that Leicester would try the lineout drive, but apart from an early try when Glasgow were short-handed in the forwards, the visitors’ maul was driven back at a rate of knots.

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In the set scrum Reid was at the forefront of a Glasgow effort that had the Tigers’ big men on their heels, and he was up against Dan Cole of England and Lions Test fame.

Zander Fagerson had the same success against the much-vaunted young England hopeful Ellis 

Glasgow could have had a penalty try after a series of attacking scrums were illegally halted, so the home team not only out-Glasgowed the opposition, which you’d perhaps expect, the forwards absolutely 
out-Leicestered them into the bargain.

“They came up here to try and bully us a wee bit and I felt the first ten minutes they were getting that way and we were trying to stand up for ourselves,” Reid said.

“That [tip tackle] kind of changed it. We thought, ‘they’re here for a game, they’re here for a fight,’ it gave us the kind of kick we needed and we pushed on from there.

“As a prop there’s nothing better than a wee fight, a bit of fisticuffs; it takes me back to my days at Ayr!”

At the risk of raining on their parade, two years ago Glasgow also put five tries past Bath, but lost home and away to Toulouse and failed to qualify.

Racing ’92 await the Warriors in December like the Bogey Man.