The crowd were very close to having even more to cheer about than just pride. If Stuart Hogg had chosen to pass to the two-man overlap on his right, instead of going for the line himself, Glasgow could have drawn the match.
The attendance was a record for a European game at Firhill. On January 1 8,852 fans watched Glasgow vs Edinburgh, a home record for a Warriors game.
Fantastic home support for the Warriors has helped inspire them to victories over Bath and Montpellier.
In an interview with STV this week, Warriors’ assistant coach Shade Munro heaped praise on the Firhill crowd. He said: “It was great to see so many people at the game. If they are still coming along at this stage of the competition, it means we still have a chance to do well, which is good. The fan base of the Warriors has grown throughout the season and, while it may be a cliché to say so, they are becoming the 16th man.
“They are a very vocal crowd. I don’t think there is a more vocal crowd in the RaboDirect PRO 12. We enjoy a fantastic support and hopefully we will get it once more for the match against Bath.”
Such a bond between team and fans is great to see. In a city as football-dominated as Glasgow the Warriors have worked hard over the years to increase the fan base and attract a new audience to the game.
Next season Glasgow hope to build on their success by turning Scotstoun Stadium into “a rugby hub for the west of Scotland.”
The team already train at Scotstoun and will be playing their home games there from the start of the 2012/13 season.
A Warriors spokesperson said: “The guiding philosophy behind the Scotstoun move is that we believe we can deliver a significantly improved experience there for the two most important groups connected with Glasgow Warriors – the players and supporters.”
This all adds up to a glittering new home with top-class facilities for the Warriors.
But after this record breaking season for attendances, is it possible that the club are taking a risk with the move?
Firhill is a short walk from Byres Road, the hub of not just the affluent West End of Glasgow but more importantly the University of Glasgow student community.
Top-class rugby for the student price of £10 has resulted in large numbers of University of Glasgow students going to Warriors’ games, be it as Glasgow fans or supporting one of the visiting teams.
Murano Street village, the largest University of Glasgow halls of residence, is within spitting distance of Firhill. Again this encourages students to go.
Price and ease mean that the decision to go to see the Warriors can be made last-minute and requires little planning ahead. Student lifestyle lends itself to spontaneity, and as such the Warriors lend themselves to the student lifestyle.
A visit to Scotstoun is a different matter altogether. Whilst it isn’t a million miles away (it’s still in the West End) it’s a long walk, train journey, or drive away from where the majority of the students live.
Suddenly students will be facing two large obstacles to getting to see the Warriors: money and organisation. Spontaneity is out of the window, and everyone knows about the state of students’ bank accounts.
Although losing the student fan base wouldn’t cause a huge dent in Warriors’ attendance figures, it would be a shame if the students stopped going after the club has made such an effort to get them to come.
The Warriors will hope that where they lead, the crowds will follow.
by David Lyons