Edinburgh Rugby star Matt Scott has paid tribute to the contribution of former Currie coach Ally Donaldson to his development.
The 23-year-old centre was the Capital outfit’s star man in the 1872 Cup showdown with Glasgow last Saturday, with a display of incisive running yielding a try and offering a platform for his colleagues to stage a second-half fightback.
He feels the input of Donaldson has been vital in laying the foundations for the success he is currently enjoying.
“I have a soft spot for Ally. He plucked me out of youth rugby to senior rugby and he has been a great servant for Currie,” he said of Donaldson, who announced last week that he was stepping down as head coach of the Malleny Park club.
“He has led them to great success. Even when the times have been dark, especially this year where we had the threat of relegation, he pulled us up, managed to keep the boys’ morale up and stayed in the league which was really important for us.
“I believe he has gone into a higher role in the club and is overseeing the whole thing. I think that will be positive and I think the time was right to bring a fresh voice, so I am positive for the future of Currie. I pay tribute to what he has done and for me personally as well.”
And of the part Donaldson played in helping the young Scott stake a claim for a professional contract, the player added: “As a coach, he believed in me and gave me the chance to play games. I was playing at ten and I think it damages a player if you are in the squad, out of the squad, in the squad, out of the squad.
“I was making mistakes sometimes but he gave me a continued run of games. Especially in my last season at Currie when we played British & Irish Cup, playing against professional opposition. He kept me in there and that did wonders for my game, playing continuously.
“Obviously I was lucky with injuries but he was good for me in that sense.”
Scott has moved on from those days and is now starring as a centre, either inside or outside. He is happy to prove his versatility, interchanging the inside and outside centre positions, as he showed to good effect on Saturday. However, he insists that his ability to fulfil different roles no longer includes appearing at stand-off.
“The way the professional game is, it is very kicking based. My kicking game is not up to the standard of a professional kicking game. I think I am better utilised as a ball carrier, as a centre. I like to add a bit of variance to my game. I’ve got that distribution and I can put in grubber kicks. It’s good to have an all-round skillset but I think for the moment, centre will be the future for me.”