The hurt of a loss in Rome remains, yet the joy of sport is that Scotland get one final chance to give a proper account of themselves this weekend.

Yet the challenge could scarcely be greater, facing an Irish team nursing their own mental and physical wounds having been toppled at Twickenham last week. They still have the championship within their grasp but the opportunity of back-to-back Grand Slams has gone, and that will hurt.

Andy Farrell’s men will be angry, fired up, and desperate to sign off this Guinness Six Nations championship with a bang and lift the title even if they can’t get the clean sweep.

So what of Scotland? I have referenced throughout this championship the three key building blocks which combine to shape the outcome of any given game: physical, emotional and tactical.

By this stage of the competition most players will be physically tired given the intensity of matches, travel and the emotional toil that comes in any match week. Yet, in my experience, the side who can dig deepest and find the emotional edge this weekend, will position themselves best for victory.

When it comes to emotional anchors though, the final match of this championship signals the last outing for Doctor James Robson who hangs up his medical bag after more than three decades as the national team doctor. He is an incredible human being and I have no doubt that every player will be representing him on field tomorrow.

There is a familiarity between the sides yet its best for us Scots to steer clear of the record books when looking for reasons to be optimistic. Nine losses on the bounce indicates the level of dominance that this impressive Irish side have had for nearly a decade. Another defeat would be the worst run for Scotland against Ireland in history.

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Yet, when reflecting on visits to the Aviva stadium in 2020 & 2022, I remember on both occasions Scotland having three opportunities to score in the opening half hour of the match, a number of which were gilt-edged, yet the returns were nil.

Scotland must be ruthless tomorrow, they must get out of the blocks and build scoreboard pressure on Ireland, impose themselves on the hosts physically and make every moment count. In this championship Scotland have rarely ended up on the ‘right’ side of the penalty count and they can ill-afford to slip up in managing referee Matthew Carley over the 80 minutes.

Ireland's red zone efficiency is outstanding and, whether through the boot of Jack Crowley or James Lowe, they feed off opportunities to squeeze opponents with penalty kicks to the corner, setting up the platform for their maul power which all too often ends in a try.

With the ball, Scotland can test Ireland, but they must create the lightning quick ball required to stress the men in green. They have world-class jacklers littered throughout their 23, and Scotland must be laser-focused in both the carry and the clear at the ruck to minimise the threat that the likes of Bundee Aki, Andrew Porter, Tadgh Beirne, Josh van der Flier and skipper Peter O’Mahony pose at the breakdown.

Central to this, as always, will be the set piece platform from which Scotland will look to launch new man Stafford McDowall, Duhan Van Der Merwe, Kyle Steyn and Huw Jones into action.

Scotland Rugby News: Gregor Townsend

A crucial man in amongst the head-to-heads tomorrow is George Turner. On his day he is up there with the best - his physicality, power running and mongrel are a real asset for Scotland. Yet it will be his management of the line out, his work with caller Grant Gilchrist to foil the Irish defence, and accuracy of throw, which will be so crucial in laying the platform for Scotland.

Finally, Scotland must believe that they can win in Dublin. There aren’t many people elsewhere who do. The task is weighty but it is another opportunity for Gregor Townsend’s men to stand up and show what they’re about.

There’s a Triple Crown on the line if they get the win after victories over Wales and England already, so why can’t they get a win in Dublin to round off the Championship?