The visitors might have taken more from the game after keeping the home team scoreless for an hour from the moment they had opened up a 10-3 lead in the 15th minute.
The Lions’ dominant scrum and maul asked questions that the Warriors toiled to answer, while their vastly improved defensive aggression snuffed out a team who prides itself on its attaching panache.
In many ways the Warriors were there for the taking if the Lions’ own attacking play had been able to find a way to break down the home defence.
At the finish the Warriors were hanging on for victory, which seemed highly unlikely after the Lions got off to the worst possible start, conceding a try in the second minute to prop Jamie Bhatti who barged over from close range – as he had against the Cell C Sharks a week ago.
Ross Thompson converted and added a penalty for the Warriors’ first half tally of 10, but for all their ambition and desire to up the tempo with their enterprising handling game, they were unable to breakdown a Lions defence that showed commendable relish for the task.
Emergency flyhalf EW Viljoen – third choice behind the injured Jordan Hendrikse and Eddie Fouche – slotted two far-from-easy penalties to reward the Lions for their resolution as what had been one-way traffic in the opening quarter gradually evened out.
Viljoen closed the gap to one point two minutes into the second half for 45 metres and had an attempt from 55m in the 66th minute to give the Lions the lead after the Warriors were once again penalised under scrum pressure.
It would have been no more than the Lions deserved after comprehensively deflating the home team’s ambition. All the Warriors had to show for that in the second half was Thompson’s second penalty – 31 minutes into the half.
It was little; it was late; but it was enough to give the Warriors the daylight they needed to cling onto the win.
Glasgow Warriors 13 (10) – Try: Jamie Bhatti. Conversion: Ross Thompson. Penalty goals: Thompson (2).
Emirates Lions 9 (6) – Penalty goals: EW Viljoen (3).