Stafford McDowall insists he isn’t overthinking his chances of breaking into the Scotland squad for the Six Nations finale, but he hopes Glasgow Warriors team-mate Johnny Matthews is rewarded at international level for his flying club form.

Starting Scotland centre Sione Tuipulotu was ruled out of the rest of the Championship last week after sustaining a knee injury in the Calcutta Cup victory over England.

While the news came as a blow to Gregor Townsend, it created an opportunity for others to claim a starting spot, with Cameron Redpath the frontrunner to fill the number 12 shirt after coming off the bench in all three Six Nations games so far.

However, McDowall gave a timely reminder of his ability by putting in a man of the match performance as he captained a youthful Glasgow side to a 19-9 victory away to Benetton on Saturday.

The centre, who won his solitary Scotland cap to date in last year’s Six Nations win over Italy, scored one try and set up another as Warriors became the first side to win in Treviso for a year.

Now he has returned to international camp to battle it out with Redpath and Rory Hutchinson for a place in the matchday 23 against the Azzurri on Saturday.

READ MORE: The candidates to replace Sione Tuipulotu in Scotland team

“I was just focused this week on playing for Glasgow and doing a job for them,” McDowall said.

“This club means a lot to me, this is the first time I’ve ever won out here in Benetton. There were a lot of boys outside of me who could have got man of the match today, so I won’t take too much from that. A lot of the forwards put in a big shift, especially the young boys.

“I won’t think too much about going forward [to the Italy game]. I’ll see what happens."

Although he wouldn’t talk up his own chances of selection, McDowall did back Matthews for further international recognition after the hooker continued his astonishing try-scoring form in Treviso.

The 30-year-old pounced on an overthrown lineout to claim Glasgow’s opening score and take his tally to 11 tries for the season, the highest in the URC.

Scotland Rugby News: Johnny Matthews has been backed for a place in the Scotland team to play ItalyJohnny Matthews has been backed for a place in the Scotland team to play Italy (Image: SNS)

It was an impressive all-round game from the hooker, who scored a try in his only Scotland cap to date, against Romania at the 2023 Rugby World Cup, but is yet to feature in a Six Nations matchday squad, with George Turner and Ewan Ashman the preferred pairing.

“Johnny is a massive part of our team and his try-scoring record keeps us in a lot of games,” McDowall said.

“I don’t know what he does at the back of that maul, but he seems to command it pretty well! He got a chance to go out to the World Cup and experience that, I think he’s really hungry for more and you can see that with the way he plays.

“There is a lot of stiff competition there and the other two boys have been going well, but everyone at Glasgow would be happy to see Johnny get a run.”

The Scots travel to Rome on the back of two wins from three in the Six Nations so far, which could have been a perfect hat-trick had a controversial TMO call not denied them a late match-winning try against France.

Townsend’s side, fresh off a dominant 30-21 Calcutta Cup defence against England at Murrayfield, sit second in the standings and victory over the Azzurri would send them to Ireland for Super Saturday brimming with confidence.

Scotland go to the Eternal City as big favourites, having won their last 13 meetings with the Italians over nine years.

But McDowall doesn’t believe there is any chance of complacency creeping in after watching Gonzalo Quesada’s side take a draw away to France last time out that would have been a win had Paolo Garbisi’s last-second penalty not struck the post.

“The boys know how good Italy are, whether it’s home or away,” McDowall said.

“They went to France last week and probably should win the game, with Garbisi so close. I don’t think there will be any complacency from Scotland.

“We know how fired up Italy are going to be, but Scotland need to win to create a showdown with Ireland at the end and have a chance. Both teams will be fired up about it and it’ll be a good game.”

Scotland Rugby News: Stafford McDowall carries against DragonsStafford McDowall carries against Dragons (Image: SNS)

If he's involved, the trip to Rome will be a second journey to Italy in a week for McDowall and his Glasgow team-mates.

He said: “I may as well just stay and book into a nice hotel in Rome! If I get the chance to come back out, whether that’s just with the squad or playing, it will be another awesome experience so it’s another one to add to the experiences I’m getting.”