Glasgow Warriors dominated for an hour but were left hanging on at the end and surrendering a potentially crucial losing bonus point to Sale Sharks before securing an opening Heineken Champions Cup win.
The Warriors probably weren’t full value for their domination of the game at 13-0 ahead, with Adam Hastings controlling the game at stand-off and DTH van der Merwe’s try just before the break putting them in almost complete control.
However Sale threw on a host of replacements, started to hold on to the ball at last and Coenie Oosthuizen’s try put them right back in the contest.
Glasgow had to hang on grimly for the final few minutes as they suddenly lost a bit of direction, but it would have been a travesty had the Sharks nicked the win at the end.
Best Warriors were Zander Fagerson, who did another full 80 shift in scrum and loose, brother Matt who was a tyro about the field, and the young half backs at least for the first hour when they drove their team forward superbly.
Winning home games is essential in the Heineken Cup and that mission was accomplished, but bonus points are priceless as Sharks will be delighted with theirs after not being at the races for much of the game.
A scrappy start with more than a few shoves exchanged at the first two breakdowns settled down into a game of attrition but Glasgow’s greater ability to keep a hold on the ball allowed them to set the foundation they wanted.
A series of 12 phases within the Sale 22 ended with a Ben Curry turnover right on his own line, then a drop goal from Adam Hastings drifted wide, before George Horne set up a scrum five with a chip, chase and tackle of Simon Hammersley, only for the setpiece to splinter and Sale to scramble clear.
It took 15 minutes for Hastings to land a penalty and open the scoring when Sharks’ hooker Ben Webber didn’t roll away from a tackle.
Hastings was looking lively with ball in hand but missed a penalty within his usual range, before a high tackle on 26 minutes in midfield quickly gave him a chance to make amends and put Glasgow 6-0 ahead.
Sale were making no inroads into Glasgow’s 22 other than one hack through by scrum-half Embrose Papier which was well swept up by Hastings.
And just before the half Glasgow struck, a burst from the back of the scrum taking play into Sale territory, and then a quick combination down the short side between Horne and Sam Johnson sprung van der Merwe into space, the Canadian finishing brilliantly from 25 metres out.
Hastings added the conversion, and 13-0 was a much better look for the Warriors going in for half-time.
Sale got no more joy even after making five half-time replacements and instead it was a fine Hastings chip to the corner that almost found van der Merwe but took a huge bounce back over the wing’s head to save the Sharks.
But Glasgow’s first real error of the day – Tommy Seymour dropping a routine pass in his own 22 – gave Sale a scrum inside 10 metres and they powered their way for replacement prop Coenie Oosthuizen to drive over the line, AJ MacGinty converting the score.
That made for a nervy final 20 minutes, with Sale slowly gaining ascendancy, and there had to be some brave defending from replacement Kyle Steyn going back as the Sharks tried to turn the screw.
A couple of penalties at the scrum forced by Zander Fagerson relieved the pressure for a while, but the Warriors were penalised on their own ball and Sale had another chance with the clock going red.
But although they got into the Warriors’ 22 again to put the fear on the Scotstoun full house, a welcome fumble in midfield brought relief and the win.
Glasgow Warriors: T Seymour; R Tagive, N Grigg, S Johnson, DTH van der Merwe; A Hastings, G Horne; O Kebble, F Brown, Z Fagerson; R Harley, S Cumming; R Wilson, C Gibbins, M Fagerson.
Replacements: A Allan for Kebble 67, C Fusaro for Wilson 65, A Price for G Horne 70, P Horne for Hastings 69, K Steyn for Tagive 70.
Sale Sharks: S Hammersley; M Yarde, C Redpath, L James, B McGuigan; AJ MacGinty, E Papier; R Harrison, R Webber, J Cooper-Woolley; B Evans, J Phillips; JL du Preez, B Curry, D du Preez.
Replacements: A van der Merwe for Webber 40, C Oosthuizen for Harrison 40, W John for Cooper-Woolley 40, M Postlewhaite for D Du Preez 73, J Ross for Phillips 40, R du Preez for James 49, C Ashton for Yarde 49.
Ref: A Ruiz (FFR)