Harry Paterson admitted there were pre-match nerves when he found out he’d be making his Scotland debut against France, but the 22-year-old's assured and confidence performance could have convinced many he was an international regular.  

Paterson was informed he would be starting over breakfast, when the Scotland management found out Kyle Steyn would need to drop out with his partner in labour.  

“I didn't really eat much after that,” the 22-year-old Edinburgh man said. With less than a dozen appearances as a professional, it is little wonder.  

He added: "I was eating some poached eggs on toast with some baked beans and I had to say goodbye to that. I had to force a couple of bananas down me and that was it.  

“After five or 10 minutes, I was a bit more calm and excited.” 

A phonecall to dad Steve, a former winger for Heriot’s, delivered the news to the Paterson household – who were already due to be at Scottish Gas Murrayfield – but there ensued a scramble for the wider family to get tickets to see Harry’s debut.  

"Calling him was a bad idea actually as I got a bit emotional. I should have just texted him, but he was trying to keep me calm. He knew I had other things on my mind. It was a nice moment. 

"David Edge our team manager managed to sort some, but my parents were coming anyway. I managed to get my grandparents down and some of my pals, so that was really nice.” 

Prior to getting the nod at 9am on Saturday morning, there had been no indication he was set for an international bow.  

Instead, Paterson had spent the week with the non-selected players helping the team prepare. He trained at fullback throughout, mirroring moves run by France’s Thomas Ramos. Until that tap on the shoulder from Townsend, he expected his role at Murrayfield to be limited to the warm-up.  

"I was training as France this week. I knew I was there to cover those positions so there was a bit of preparation there, but the first I heard of it was this morning." 

READ MORE: Rory Darge keen to take positives from defeat to France

After some time to ready himself – and inform his family – Paterson knew he’d have to keep his emotions in check. He was thankful to Edinburgh colleague Jamie Ritchie for a bit of pre-match advice.  

He added: “Jamie said to me ‘when you get to Murrayfield. take your headphones off’.

“Walking off the bus, because of the crowd, was awesome. I'm glad he said that as I probably wouldn't have, so that was a nice moment.” 

As for the anthems, he added: "I tried not to get emotional about it and think about the task at hand.” 

Once the game began, Paterson produced an assured display that belied his youth and top level inexperience.  

“Generally I was pretty pleased with how I played but there’s stuff still to look at.  

“There was the try where they kicked it through over my head and some high ball stuff as well.  

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“It was just really gutting at the end.” 

Paterson, a product of Edinburgh’s Fettes College, gave his own verdict of the match-defining decision by referee Nic Berry and TMO Brian MacNeice. 

“We all thought we saw what everyone else saw on the TV. 

“I thought I read the ref’s lips on the screen, with him saying, ‘I’m going to award the try’. 

“But Gregor said to us afterwards that we need to take games out of the referee’s hands and not leave it up to a decision like that. 

“That’s what we need to look at - being more clinical and when in that area finishing with a try instead of taking a three. 

“There was a lot of disappointment in the dressing room but Gregor said he was really proud of us that we came back at the end and were in a position to win it.” 

Paterson said the defeat made his debut a bittersweet occasion, but enjoyed sharing the moment with hs family and friends.  

"It was lovely. It was obviously bittersweet in a lot of ways today, but all the boys are saying to just make sure I take it all in and enjoy it.” 

Post-match, Townsend described his debut as “one of the best I’ve ever seen”.  

READ MORE: Gregor Townsend praises Harry Paterson after Scotland debut

The Scotland coach raised eyebrows by selecting a player who has only established himself in the Edinburgh team this season.  

And Paterson himself admitted to some nerves when he initially joined the squad.  

"My first week I was a wee bit taken aback by everything,” he said.  

“But once I got a few training sessions under my belt you realise it’s just rugby. It’s just a bit faster and everyone is a bit more on it but it’s still rugby.” 

Paterson also admitted he did not expect to be involved in this campaign.  

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“It’s always been a dream of mine to play for Scotland but not this quickly and not this way. 

“I didn’t think it would happen so soon.” 

But after his first outing in the Test arena, he is keen for more when England come calling on February 24, but he knows he’ll have his work cut out with Steyn likely to be available again, plus Darcy Graham and Blair Kinghorn set to return from injury.  

"That's a huge game for us. That will be awesome if I'm involved. I don't know what will happen. “There are boys coming back, so we'll see. 

“It’s been an awesome few weeks.”