SCOTLAND No 8 Johnnie Beattie cannot understand why beating Ireland in Croke Park last year was considered such an upset and sees no reason why it cannot be backed up with another Scottish victory at Murrayfield tomorrow (3.0).
Beattie, who returns to the back-row after recovering from injury, put in a man-of-the-match, try-scoring performance last year when Scotland denied Declan Kidney's side a Triple Crown by winning 23-20. And he believes a Scottish side, which shows seven changes from the one that suffered a disappointing defeat to Wales at home two weeks ago, is more than capable of beating an Irish team that struggled to victory over Italy and lost to France.
"I don't know why the media made such a thing about Scotland winning at Croke Park last year because our pro teams regularly travel and beat Irish opposition in the Magners League," said Beattie.
"There is no reason why we can't repeat last season's accomplish-ment at home. Ruaridh Jackson coming in at stand-off can bring me more into the game because he lies very flat and likes to attack the gain-line by picking holes in defences," he added.
"Also, Ruaridh is an exciting prospect with great hands and the ability to control a game. If he can assert himself he will turn in a great performance."
Ireland are 4/9 favourites to win tomorrow, with Scotland quoted as 15/8 outsiders, while in handicap betting, the bookmakers rate the Irish to be five points superior.
The true state of Scottish rugby was revealed in a small add-on at the bottom of a media press release issued by the Scottish Rugby Union this week. It might have been subtle, but its message was clear -- Scottish rugby is in trouble.