Glasgow 25 Ulster 6
Andrew Henderson claimed a late try to hoist Glasgow into the upper reaches of the Magners League tonight.
The wobbly Warriors had looked in danger of blowing their early lead over basement side Ulster in a frantic Firhill battle.
But Scotland centre Henderson came up trumps when it mattered – and now Sean Lineen’s troops can prepare in good heart for their Heineken Cup opener against Saracens.
Glasgow made an urgent start with Argentinian full-back Bernardo Stortoni deceiving the Ulster defence with a clever chip-and-chase.
But the momentum was surrendered when they were penalised for illegal binding at the next scrum.
Warriors maintained the initiative and were rewarded with three points from the boot of Dan Parks.
He confidently slotted from 40 metres after touch-judge Rob Dickson spotted Ulster’s World Cup scrum-half Isaac Boss aiming at punch at home skipper Alastair Kellock.
The visitors were handed an instant chance to level the scores when John Beattie was guilty of a shoulder-first challenge.
And the Glasgow fans heaved a sigh of relief as they watched veteran David Humphreys send his effort wide of the far post.
Warriors returned to attacking mode and Parks doubled their advantage after the Ulster pack killed the ball at a ruck.
Within two minutes, Parks had struck again from dead in front of the posts as Australian Justin Harrison sneaked offside during a home raid.
Parks’ sequence of success came to a halt when he miscued a snap drop-goal attempt from close range.
Glasgow continued to hold the upper hand, but their finishing could not match their slick build-up work.
Parks was quickly back in the groove, however, taking his penalty tally to four with a terrific 45-metre effort.
Ulster rallied in the final stages of the half, however a combination of stout home defence and sloppy handling prevented them from reducing the Glasgow lead.
The visitors looked sharper after the restart and Humphreys broke their duck with a simple kick.
Parks had the opportunity to restore Glasgow’s advantage, but to the surprise of everyone in the stadium he fired wildly past the upright.
And the game was back in the melting pot as Humphreys hit the target for the second time to set up a tense finale.
Parks’ erratic performance continued as he fluffed another drop-goal bid – then spilled the ball a metre short of the line.
Between times, Beattie was blocked just short in the wake of a storming charge.
Then with less than 10 minutes left, Henderson snapped up the crucial touchdown in a great move also featuring Sam Pinder and Beattie.
Parks eased his jitters by clipping over the conversion – then landed an angled penalty to overtake Ospreys’ Gavin Henson and become the second highest scorer in Magners League history behind Humphreys.
He added another in stoppage time for good measure.