Glasgow Warriors returned to winning ways in the Pro12 with a hard-fought derby victory over Edinburgh.
Junior Bulumakau was gifted an early try at Murrayfield and Josh Strauss crashed through a rolling maul to restore the visitors’ lead.
Duncan Weir had kicked the hosts in front with two penalties and added two more but that was it for Edinburgh.
In a largely scrappy contest, Alex Dunbar finished off the best move of the game for Warriors’ third try.
Having won the last three derby matches, Edinburgh, who sit a lowly 10th in the table, will have to wait until the final weekend of the league campaign for the return, with the 1872 Cup at stake, since the traditional Boxing Day – New Year double-header has been removed from the calendar this season.
Edinburgh’s start to the match could scarcely have been more calamitous. They lost their own line-out and when Glasgow spread the ball wide Dunbar dropped a clever kick deep into Edinburgh territory.
Full-back Blair Kinghorn looked to have the situation under control but his attempt to go down on the loose ball served only to knock it over his own try-line for Bulumakau to touch down inside a minute.
The sides spent the next 20 minutes feeling each other out. With the match drifting from set-piece to set-piece, two Weir penalties nudged the home side in front.
Warriors penalty count was becoming a problem, conceding seven to Edinburgh’s none after half an hour. Only a lack of accuracy from the hosts in the attacking third kept the gap at one and they would soon be made to pay.
Glasgow’s power over panache
Glasgow elected to pop a very kickable penalty into the corner, and the gamble was rewarded when Strauss scored to finish off a highly effective rolling maul from the line-out. Russell converted to put his side 12-6 to the good.
Mark Bennett showed tremendous footwork and searing pace to slice through the heart of the Edinburgh defence. The home side scrambled to avert the immediate danger, but an infringement allowed Russell to kick Glasgow into a nine-point half-time lead.
The skill level on show was lacking quality, perhaps best summed up early in the second half when Russell passed up a straightforward penalty chance, only to put his kick to touch dead.
Scrappiness was the order of the day – as it is in so many derby matches – and yet Glasgow’s game-changers can spring to life from nowhere.
Stuart Hogg, a peripheral figure, gathered a clearance kick and looked to be heading towards a mass of bodies, but in trademark style he tore through a tiny gap to take his side into the red zone. The attack yielded nothing though as Russell missed a straightforward penalty after an Edinburgh offside.
Weir made no such mistake as he brought Edinburgh back within six points.
Warriors stop the rot
The number 10s traded kicks, Russell improvising with a drop-goal when the ball wobbled off the tee, and, with the match delicately poised, the next score was crucial.
It was magnificently manufactured by Glasgow. After several phases spent pounding the Edinburgh line, a succession of stunning off-loads from Russell, Brian Alainu’use and Sean Lamont put Dunbar over. Russell’s conversion sent Warriors 13 points clear.
Edinburgh tried to rally in the last five minutes but a lack of composure and the fearsome tackling of Warriors skipper Jonny Gray kept them at bay.
A consolation score looked certain when Damien Hoyland slalomed forward with the clock red and Viliame Mata plunged under the posts, only to be held up by three determined defenders.
An ugly but important win for Glasgow after three straight Pro12 defeats. For Edinburgh, the search for consistency continues, with eight losses from their 11 league outings.
Edinburgh: Blair Kinghorn; Damien Hoyland, Chris Dean, Phil Burleigh, Tom Brown; Duncan Weir, Sam Hidalgo-Clyne; Alasdair Dickinson, Ross Ford, Simon Berghan, Ben Toolis, Grant Gilchrist, Magnus Bradbury, Hamish Watson, Cornell du Preez.
Replacements: Stuart McInally, Allan Dell, Murray McCallum, Fraser McKenzie, Viliame Mata, Sean Kennedy, Jason Tovey, Glenn Bryce.
Glasgow Warriors: Stuart Hogg; Junior Bulumakau, Mark Bennett, Alex Dunbar, Lee Jones; Finn Russell, Henry Pyrgos; Alex Allan, Fraser Brown, Zander Fagerson, Brian Alainu’uese, Jonny Gray, Rob Harley, Simone Favaro, Josh Strauss.
Replacements: Pat McArthur, Ryan Grant, Sila Puafisi, Adam Ashe, Chris Fusaro, Ali Price, Nick Grigg, Sean Lamont.