Scotland defence coach Steve Tandy has insisted there is not a psychological frailty within the squad, despite them throwing away a 12-point lead against Italy.  

The second half collapse at the Stadio Olimpico came after Scotland saw a 27-0 lead whittled down to a final score by a rampant Wales in the Six Nations opener in Cardiff last month.  

Tandy though said he doesn’t feel it is a problem.   

“I’d never question our mental toughness,” the Welshman said.  

“Look at the England game - if you lack mental toughness you’re not going to come back from 10-0 down and win the Calcutta Cup, and that was coming after France when we feel we’d been hard done by but came back and produced a performance. 

“There is definitely mental toughness, I believe, in this group. There are definitely areas we need to develop and keep growing and produce more consistent passages in play and ultimately wrestle that momentum back.”

READ MORE: Five things we learned from Scotland's defeat to Italy

Tandy said lapses of concentration – particularly in their backfield defence - cost Scotland in Rome, and was frustrated by the three tries they shipped.  

He added: “The tries do look soft. Large parts of the defence, physically, the boys were pitching in, but looking at the first half, we should have done better with the first try. We should have been in a better position to cover those kicks.  

"In the second half we should have been better with both tries.  

“We've had a massive pride around our defence and we've shown for 45-50 minutes in Wales what we can do. Physically we matched up to France and then you look at England where one sloppy moment cost us a try.  

Scotland Rugby News: Tandy was disappointed by lapses in concentration against ItalyTandy was disappointed by lapses in concentration against Italy (Image: SNS)

“That's part of where we've got to grow because I think the physical stuff, we're definitely pitching in

“It's those little moments of concentration we've got to be better because we're going to need to do it for 80 minutes at the weekend.” 

Tandy said the review of the match by the players and coaches was forthright, and  acknowledged Scotland haven’t yet hit their best in the championship.  

He knows that will need to change if they are to end 14 years without a win in Dublin on Saturday.  

“Everyone is absolutely disappointed,” he said.  

“There is a sense that we have missed an opportunity and haven’t produced the level of performance we want to. 

“It’s something we are continually working on. And when you work on stuff, it doesn’t all go one way - there are a lot of speedbumps along the way, just as in normal life. 

“But you’ve got to get over them and learn from them. That’s the good thing about our group - they’re fully aware of those moments. There is no excuse-making or hiding behind things. 

“We are striving to be better every game. We are always looking hard in the mirror, and looking at how we can learn from one of the worst moments, which is losing big Test matches.” 

READ MORE: Scott Cummings calls for Scotland reaction in Dublin

Scotland found themselves once more on the wrong end of a hefty penalty count in Rome, with the visitors pinged on 12 occasions to Italy’s five.  

While Townsend criticised Ben O’Keeffe for his handling of the Wales match Tandy had no qualms about the decisions made in Rome by Australian Angus Gardner.  

He said: “We felt the penalty count was probably fair. There weren’t many quibbles in terms of those decisions. 

"Sometimes there is a spiral of control. But we can wrestle that back, whether it be with the penalty count, or a better defensive set, and get back into the game.” 

Scotland travel to Dublin with painful memories of their last meeting with Ireland, a 36-14 drubbing that saw Townsend’s side dumped out of the World Cup.   

But despite the Paris hammering coming just five months ago, the former Waratahs and Ospreys coach believes Scotland have made enough progress since to turn that result around.  

Scotland Rugby News: Scotland were well beaten by Ireland at the Rugby World CupScotland were well beaten by Ireland at the Rugby World Cup (Image: SNS)

He added: “There was lots of reflection from the World Cup, looking hard at our game. There was definitely things we learned and where we needed to grow. 

“We feel we’ve grown in large aspects and we’ve definitely improved since that game, but there’s no bigger test to go and find out than to go to Ireland in front of a full house and they are playing for the championship. It will be an unbelievable test.” 

Tandy admitted Scotland were taught a lesson the last time the sides met and knows Scotland must be at their very best if they are to cause an upset.  

He said: “Ireland are an unbelievable team. We know it’s going to be a physical encounter and Ireland will be raring to go after the back of their first defeat in a long time, and obviously they’re in [contention for] the championship.  

“We know the task we’re undertaking and we know the focus and mentality we’re going to need on Saturday." 

“If you look at Ireland’s record, the team they’ve got, the trophies they’ve been involved in, we will have to produce one of the best performances definitely.”