Scotland are heading toward getting their game right but for Scottish fans the metamorphosis from wooden spoon avoiders to contenders is not happening fast enough.
Scotland may have been able to sneak a win in their Six Nations round two match against Wales, if referee Glen Jackson had made a few calls in Scotland’s favour but on a whole Scotland hadn’t done enough to be winners.
Scotland have been giving some of the big boys a hard time over the last few seasons. The likes of Euan Murray, Ross Ford, Alisdair Dickinson and the Gray brothers have made their pack difficult to get the better of in scrums, lineouts and the contact areas. They are mobile, athletic and strong.
Having a pack like that is step one, step two is a good defence, step three is being able to create opportunities, step four is being able to convert an opportunity into a try. Step four is where Scotland are not quite ticking the box.
When your side breaches the defence at Test level there is a very small window of opportunity to make it count. The big teams make it count.
In one sense the adrenaline is at an optimum and actions and reactions have got to be superfast yet the head has got to stay cool.
To many times at crucial moments the Scots played as if panicked, without direction and structure in the red zone.
Finn Russel is an exciting looking fly-half, the best I have seen in a Scottish top for a long time. He is inexperienced and lacks maturity, but with the right guidance he can grow into the role rapidly. A player like him with a more level head could guide his team around the park, that is when Scotland could take the next step up.
This could be as close as the next time they play which is against Italy. Scotland need to beat Italy soundly. Vern Cotter, Scotland’s coach,seems to have that steely edge and a rugby understanding to turn promise into reality.