Glasgow Warriors: Al Kellock retiring with moment to savour

Al Kellock lifts the Pro12 trophy on his last appearance for Glasgow Warriors
Al Kellock lifted the Pro12 trophy

Glasgow saved their "best performance in knockout rugby" to win a maiden Pro12 title and send captain Al Kellock into retirement a very happy man.

The Warriors beat Munster 31-13 in Belfast and returned to a boisterous reception at Glasgow Airport on Sunday.

"It will sink in over the next few days," Kellock told BBC Scotland.

"We worked incredibly hard to get to this point, on and off the park, and now we've got to savour it since it's a very special moment."

With their scheduled flight home from Belfast cancelled after Saturday's contest at Kingspan, the winners were greeted by fans the morning after a night of celebrations.

"The support we had over there was phenomenal and to come back to this makes it even more special," said 33-year-old Kellock.

"After an hour-and-a-half waiting at the airport, we went back to the hotel we stayed in before the match and they looked after us well at very short notice.

"But we could have been anywhere in the world last night and it wouldn't have mattered! It was a good night, lots of singing."

Al Kellock poses with some young supporters at Glasgow Airport
A delighted Al Kellock poses with some young supporters at Glasgow Airport

Kellock made a rare appearance on the Glasgow bench and played in the last 15 minutes as Gregor Townsend's side closed out an emphatic four-try victory.

"That was our best performance in knockout rugby," he said. "It was top class. Not only the way we played but the way we stopped a top-quality Munster team."

Kellock was a losing finalist last season, with Leinster proving too strong for the Warriors in Dublin, and he said that experience made him and his team-mates all the more determined to get their hands on the trophy for a first time.

"There were a good few times it seemed an incredibly long way away," said the lock, capped 56 times for Scotland.

"To get as close as we did last year meant we were that bit more desperate.

"We talked all year about learning the lessons from the last final and it's so pleasing to see us do it.

"The feeling of achievement is incredibly difficult to put into words. I sat with the trophy between me and DTH van der Merwe on the plane and occasionally we'd just say 'we did it'."

DTH van der Merwe was a try-scorer for Glasgow in the final
DTH van der Merwe scored his 43rd Glasgow try in the final but is moving on to Welsh club Scarlets

Kellock is not the only player moving on, with hooker Dougie Hall also hanging up his boots and several others joining new clubs over the summer.

Immediately after the match in Belfast, Kellock told BBC Scotland: "I've had an incredible nine years at this fantastic club.

"I've played my last game of rugby and then there's some of the boys who are moving on like Jon Welsh and DTH, who have been the heart and soul of this club.

"To a certain degree, it's a point of passing it on to the young lads coming through.

"But I've got no doubt they will grasp a hold of it and keep going with the foundations that have been built."