Edinburgh twice came from behind at BT Murrayfield last night to reclaim the 1872 Challenge Cup and provide tangible evidence of the revival that has taken place under new head coach Richard Cockerill.

To the blessed relief of everyone outside of Ulster, all potential conspiracy theories on either side of the Irish Sea had been set aside before this match got underway as a result of Munster’s second string side having managed to prevent Ulster from taking a full five points in their encounter, which would have left Edinburgh requiring a minimum of a point to claim a place in the PRO14 play-offs for the first time and, by extension, next season’s European Champions Cup.

That was perhaps just as well because there was something rather odd about the raft of changes made across the two sides due to ill health and injury – Blair Kinghorn and Chris Dean dropping out of for Edinburgh, while Tommy Seymour, Sam Johnson and Jonny Gray were ruled out for the visitors. Johnson’s intended replacement Pete Horne broke down in the warm-up, resulting in Alex Dunbar returning to their starting line-up, having originally been omitted from the match 23.

That made this a straight contest for the silverware and, for all that Cockerill played down its importance in the build-up to the match, there was far too much pride at stake for either set of players to share in that sort of thinking.

No-one had greater motivation to make it a night to remember than DTH van der Merwe, who was marking his 100th appearance for Glasgow and he got the scoring underway in typical fashion, latching on to a neat chip from Finn Russell that bounced perfectly into his path and he took it without breaking stride, evading Dougie Fife’s attempted cover tackle to score on the left.

Edinburgh responded when a move that looked to have broken down in the visitors’ 22 was revived brilliantly by Jaco van der Walt, diving to his left as the ball fell loose, to flick it up to Jamie Ritchie and he fed Junior Rasolea whose pass to James Johnstone gave the centre enough space and room to generate the pace to get over the line despite the attentions of two defenders.

Almost immediately Glasgow’s seven-point advantage was restored with Russell twice involved in the move, initially delivering a short pass that Nick Grigg burst on to to break through the defensive line, George Horne then producing a delightful little link to release his half-back partner who got deep into the 22 before feeding Callum Gibbins at a range from which the powerful Kiwi flanker was never likely to be stopped.

This time it took longer for Edinburgh to get back, but they duly did so with less than five minutes of the half remaining, a lengthy spell of blasting away at the line ultimately resulting in Jordan Lay squirming his way over.

The half’s scoring action ended as it began with a van der Merwe getting on to the end of a perfectly judged kick, but this time it was Edinburgh’s Duhan who was given the advantage by the angle created as Sam Hidalgo-Clyne spotted space in behind Lee Jones, the ball sitting up ideally as the winger gathered it on the goal-line.

As Edinburgh pressed for a fourth try, Ryan Wilson was lucky to stay on the pitch after blatantly tripping Hidalgo-Clyne as he set up another wave of attack inside the visitors’ 22, all the more so because he had earlier been involved in a lengthy rammy with Magnus Bradbury.

The Glasgow captain’s cynicism was rewarded as his team managed to dig their way out of trouble and it was more familiar, attritional derby fare for the rest of the third quarter.

Needing only a draw to win the trophy, Glasgow were building pressure when Stuart McInally made a rather different captain’s contribution, reading the game well to make a juggling interception and pounding deep into opposition territory in turning defence into an attack which ultimately generated a penalty that replacement Dunc Weir slotted to put his current team 10 points ahead of his old one with 14 minutes left.

It was game on again just three minutes later though after a barn-storming run by replacement Siua Halanukonuka took them midway into the Edinburgh half, Glasgow worked the ball left where their van der Merwe barrelled his way into the corner for his second try.

The Canadian then thought he had a hat-trick when he stole the ball from a close-range ruck and darted into the left corner, but referee Nigel Owens spotted an offence as he did so and called play back. They were given one last chance when Edinburgh were penalised at a scrum just outside their own 22 allowing them to set up a lineout drive, but it stalled and was driven into reverse, allowing the home team to play down the clock and claim a deserved victory.