JOHN TRIPP'S era as Braehead Clan boss got off to a winning start as his thin squad sent his predecessor Ryan Finnerty homeward to think again. Well, for a night at least.

Five imports down as the new season got underway, Clan turned on the style against Manchester Storm in Glasgow on Saturday night as an exciting brand of hockey earned a 7-5 win in the Challenge Cup.

The fact they went down 4-1 on Sunday night's return will obviously be a disappointment to the former NHL star, but it is understandable given the efforts put in the evening before from a largely new team.

Around 3000 Braehead fans flocked for a first competitive glimpse of their new heroes and they didn't disappoint. In a whirlwind start as newbies Mike Embach and Jacob Doty had the hosts two up in the first few minutes.

Former head coach Finnerty looked concerned as he watched on from the away bench as a quick and counter-attacking Clan were out-speeding his team. Yet, Storm's physicality soon took over as Braehead struggled as the English side roared into a 3-2 lead. However, the early character shown from Tripp's lot will be of tremendous encouragement despite the blip, and they roared back in style.

A central shot from range gave Embach his second before Doty did likewise. Storm did level again through Dane Byers, but the pressure was eased when Cameron Burt and a tremendous counter goal from Christoffer Bjorklund put Clan on Easy Street in the third. Two Challenge Cup points were secured when Adam Brace fired into an empty net late on.

Even without Tyler Shattock, Tyler Schofield and Ryan Putulny who have all yet to arrive - and two imports who have yet to sign - the early indicators are promising that a hard-working Braehead will not provide the frustrations that blighted Finnerty's last season in charge. Still, early days.

That bodes well as Tripp takes his team on an eight-game run away from the Braehead Arena as Disney on Ice moves in with Scottish Cup duty up next weekend.