A confident and determined Scarlets side stepped out in perfect style and with a real edge. The Welsh players seemed immune to the constant applauding, chanting and drum-beating echoing around the packed house - with a typically French rugby crowd showed they were going to play their part in the big occasion.
And the final score line in their European opener wasn't one that reflected what the Scarlets players deserved after a huge effort at the Stade Marcel Michelin.
Priestland had a good night with the boot and out of hand, with decisive drop goal, two penalties and a tough conversion cleanly taken.
But losing Morgan Stoddart in the 37th minute to a second yellow card was the ultimate turning point in the game and from then on despite sheer bravery and commitment from the remaining 14 players, Clermont had the ability to create and exploit space out wide and drove their numerical advantage home in perfect style.
A charged down kick early in the second half lead to a Clermont scrum driven over for a try in the first three minutes of the second half and from there Clermont put the pressure heavily on the visiting side.
Despite the points tally, the Scarlets refused to admit defeat and put their bodies to every challenge right until the final whistle.
At times towards the end of the game, the field at Clermont resembled a battle-ground with men down and tired bodies hitting the floor. The intensity and physicality of the game dealt a number of knocks for the Scarlets squad ahead of next week's challenge against Leinster.
Scarlets Head Coach Simon Easterby said he could not fault the spirit, courage or determination his side had shown or their confident start to the game.
"We were going very well for 37 minutes and stuck to our game plan, even when things weren't going our way. I think we showed exactly what we can do with a full compliment of players and that we can compete well at this kind of level against the likes of Clermont, Leinster and Exeter.
"But when you lose a player to the bin or red card, it's obviously going to put pressure on you and particularly in a place and against a team like this. We showed what we were about in the first 30 - but the game's a lot longer than that.
Easterby said that that the red card had been a turning point and the decision may not have shown a real empathy with the flow of the game.
"The red card was pretty harsh and obviously the game changes when you lose a player like that.
"But there's no excuses - we took a bit of a beating in the end and we should have changed and adapted better. The players to a man are bitterly disappointed; but this is just one of six games and this group is still alive and we are alive in it.
"We'll look forward to the end of the group stages when we welcome Clermont to Parc y Scarlets and we have a short turnaround now before Leinster next week and that's going to be a big game for us at home.
"We have to win against Leinster it's as simple as that - you can't progress without a win in your first two games and it's still in our hands.
"We will take plenty out of today from the first half - there's a few lessons learnt particularly for some of our less experienced players as we return home and if we can keep 15 players on the pitch next week we know we can get a result.
"Regardless of the end result, our players were excellent - they got a lot of things right and a few things wrong and being a man down for that long they did not deserve that score line. It could have been a very different game without the red card but we'll never know that now."
Captain Rob McCusker expressed the bitter disappointment of his players. He said: "It looks like we had a hammering but the game wasn't like that - credit to Clermont they used their numerical advantage well in the second half and attacked us from that wing but we know we are better than that score line.
"We couldn't have asked for more in first half we had them under pressure; we stuck to our game knowing it was going to be a physical game and we matched them.
"The away support was great here today especially considering how hostile the atmosphere was. We are all so grateful for the commitment and backing of our fantastic supporters and wanted to applaud them for their great support.
"We have a huge game next week; we will pick ourselves up and we have a great opportunity now against the champions - they'll be looking for revenge on us from earlier in the season and that's going to be a motivation for us too."
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