The Saints put down a marker for the European Rugby Champions Cup, winning away at the reigning Pro 12 champion Glasgow Warriors.
It was no surprise that the opening couple of minutes were somewhat cagy, both teams putting boot to ball. But while it was the first cold night of the season Scotstoun was seeing perfect conditions for running rugby, and when Mark Bennett made a scything break it put Glasgow onto the front foot deep in the visitors’ half.
Finn Russell - at the second attempt - made the most of the position by landing the first points, but Glasgow’s lead was short-lived as Saints came right back.
A lineout on the home 22 saw the ball sent to Stephen Myler, who sent up a soaring Garryowen. Glasgow’s back three failed to deal with the threat, and when Luther Burrell’s superb chase won possession back George Pisi was on hand to power over by the uprights.
Glasgow’s reputation for running rugby is well earned, but Saints were showing that they could put the ball through the hands, too, Sam Dickinson making a good break to feed George North on the left.
Myler’s grubber hit the post to force Stuart Hogg to concede a five-metre scrum, and when the power came on and the penalty won Lee Dickson had no hesitation in pointing to the posts for his fly half to extend the lead to seven, which he duly did.
Another Myler penalty made it a 10-point margin as Saints maintained their dominance in the set piece, which had also earned Glasgow prop Ryan Grant a yellow card. This did not stop Russell from going to the corner when the opportunity presented itself after 25 minutes, but even then Michael Paterson’s excellent work won the ball back to nullify the danger close to his own line.
A subsequent lineout on the visitors’ 22 was won back by Jamie Gibson, but when Glasgow put the ball through the hands they looked dangerous, Bennett and Tommy Seymour combining well down the left.
But they were a distinct second best at the tight stuff, and when Saints won a penalty back it set up try number two. The forwards sucked in the Warriors pack with a maul, before a great cutting line drew in the midfield defence, leaving plenty of space out wide to exploit. And this they duly did, sending the ball quickly to Ahsee Tuala, who bounced off the last man to score in the corner.
Glasgow needed something quickly, and they got it just after the half-hour. Russell hit the post with a penalty, but Saints fumbled the ball to hand possession straight back to the Warriors. They may have had the break, but Glasgow still needed to finish it off, and this they did, getting the ball away from the scrum quickly and giving it to centre Peter Horne, who cut a lovely line to the whitewash.
Yet Myler had the last say of the first half with his third penalty, and Saints came a boot’s width of the first points of the second, too, Tuala just putting a foot in touch after collecting a Ben Foden kick on his way to the corner.
However Glasgow not only held out this time, but were soon camped on Saints’ line. Russell’s kicking off the tee may have been wayward, but out of hand he was superb, sending play to the corner. A second penalty was also sent to touch, but both times the visitors held firm, the second time winning a scrum and then a penalty for Myler to clear.
The pack was making the hard yards, but the backs were having a good evening, too, with Ben Foden in particular catching the eye. And it was the full back who had the crucial say in try number three, cutting Glasgow apart with a break and then putting through a great grubber for Tuala to score.
Glasgow were needing something to go their way, and quickly, and just before the hour they got exactly that.
Burrell was on the receiving end of a yellow card, paying the price for a succession of penalties and advantages, and when the penalty was tapped quickly Josh Strauss powered over in the left corner.
But while Glasgow kept on coming they could not make any more hay from the period with the man advantage, Christian Day winning a five-metre lineout against the throw to set up a maul and clearing penalty.
And that was that in terms of chances, and while Saints did keep the ball alive past the 80-minute mark in search of the try scoring bonus point there was that little bit too much to do.
GLASGOW Hogg; Seymour, Bennett, Horne, Lamont; Russell, Blair; Grant, MacArthur, Puafisi, Nakawara, Gray (capt), Harley, Favaro, Strauss
Reps - Mamukashvili, Reid, Fagerson, Swinson, Wilson, Hart, Vernon, Naiyaravoro
SAINTS Foden; Tuala, G Pisi, Burrell, North; Myler, Dickson (capt); A Waller, Haywood, Brookes, Paterson, Day, Gibson, Wood, Dickinson
Reps - WIlliams, E Waller, Hill, Fisher, Harrison, Fotuali’i, Hanrahan, Elliott
3mins GLASGOW Miss pen Russell
5mins GLASGOW Pen Russell 3-0
7mins SAINTS Try G Pisi Con Myler 3-7
15mins SAINTS Pen Myler 3-10
18mins GLASGOW Yellow card Grant
21mins SAINTS Pen Myler 3-13
29mins SAINTS Try Tuala 3-18
32mins GLASGOW Miss pen Russell
33mins GLASGOW Try Horne Con Russell 10-18
40mins SAINTS Pen Myler 10-21
HALF-TIME GLASGOW 10 SAINTS 21
51mins SAINTS Try Tuala 10-26
57mins SAINTS Yellow card Burrell
57mins GLASGOW Try Strauss 15-26
FULL-TIME GLASGOW 15 SAINTS 26