Matt Scott has admitted a siege mentality is bubbling up nicely at Edinburgh Rugby ahead of Saturday’s visit from Munster in the opening round of the Heineken European Cup.
Signs have been there with new coach Alan Solomons evidently declining interviews after a league loss at Cardiff last weekend while one player, undertaking television summarising duties, was heard to remark “Well, the critics have got the score they wanted . . .”
While defending the right of a new coaching regime to be given time to bed in their structures, Scott said: “It’s not nice losing games and getting stick for not playing well, not playing exciting rugby etc.
“You get a bit sick of it. So, yes, I think there has been a bit of coming together in our ranks. You always have motivation to go out and prove people wrong especially when you are underdogs. I always quite like going into a game as an underdog because you don’t really have much to lose.”
And the international centre insisted: “You WILL see a reaction this weekend.”
While, given Edinburgh’s rugby heritage, some might be shocked at the acceptance of an “underdog” tag for any home match, that is realistic in the current stage of a rebuilding programme which has yielded four defeats from five starts.
Again Scott, who made his first competitive appearance of the season after injury from off the bench at Cardiff, goes on the offensive by effectively saying there can be no gain without pain.
“I know it has not been the best rugby to watch but coaches are nailing down their principles. We are starting to play more rugby – you’ll see that this weekend.”
Where Edinburgh can expect to have an extra edge is in the new-found finishing skills of Scott who might well be a secret weapon.
It is a fact that Scott has notched tries in his last two games for Scotland and – counting Edinburgh matches – three in his last four starts.
Suddenly he is the go-to performer with the try-line in sight.
Scott said: “My finishing is coming through experience. I’m seeing plays unfold better and getting in the right positions. I’m learning more about support lines. In the past I would not anticipate breaks as well as I do now. That has come through experience.”
Scott, still only 23, has won 15 caps for Scotland so far.