Wales starlet George North made it three tries in two RaboDirect PRO12 games as the Scarlets ensured Glasgow Warriors’ new life at Scotstoun began with an 18-13 defeat.
With Scotstoun being unveiled as the Warriors’ permanent home for the first time the crowd were desperate to welcome in a new era with a win.
But North – fresh from two tries as the Scarlets thrashed Heineken Cup champions Leinster in the opening weekend of RaboDirect PRO12 action – and his teammates hadn’t read the script in Glasgow.
The Wales wing’s score, plus others from Andy Fenby and Aaron Shingler, gave them a cushion which ensured Chris Cusiter’s second-half Warriors try was too little too late.
Wales fly-half Rhys Priestland should have put the visitors ahead after just two minutes but he dragged a penalty attempt wide.
And he was made to pay for that miss when Ruaridh Jackson gave the Scotstoun crowd the first thing to shout about at Warriors’ new home with a penalty after Matthew Rees was penalised to make it 3-0.
After some probing runs by DTH van der Merwe the Warriors lead should have been doubled when Jonathan Davies was caught offside but Jackson put his penalty attempt well wide.
Against the run of play the Scarlets took the lead when Shingler – who had spent some time off the field with a head injury – was put in sight of the line by a North pass after a speedy counterattack and duly touched down.
Shingler’s eventful half saw him become the villain on 26 minutes when he was sin-binned for a high tackle on Peter Murchie but Jackson missed an eminently kickable penalty to leave the score at 5-3.
Jackson’s wayward kicking was mirrored by Priestland who wasted a chance to extend the Scarlets advantage while Shingler was off the field, putting a penalty wide.
Priestland was off target again with a conversion effort just before the half but the visitors weren’t too concerned as they had just stretched their lead to seven points.
Chris Cusiter was robbed in midfield and after Davies had kicked the loose ball on, Fenby got another boot on it before touching down in the corner.
Jackson reduced the arrears with the last kick – albeit another less than convincing one – of the half to make it 10-6 but a Priestland penalty early in the second half stretched the lead back to seven points.
The two fly-halves then missed a kick apiece as their struggles continued at Scotstoun. The Scarlets got their third try approaching the hour mark however when Wales winger North finished off a multi-phase move in the corner, Priestland missing the conversion for 18-6.
The Warriors huffed and puffed as they tried to get back into the game and they got the try their possession deserved when Cusiter went in under the posts and replacement Duncan Weir added the extras.
But it was too little too late as the Scarlets laid down a serious statement of intent by moving to the top of the table.