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Old campaigner has earned the right to share home truths in pushing Scotland on

Nobody captured the subdued mood of the Scotland camp on Saturday evening better than Sean Lamont.

On the day when he should have been celebrating overtaking Scott Murray to become the second most-capped Scot of all time, the 33-year-old utility back - a tag he has worn since it became clear he could do a lot more than just pound down the wing - struck an almost apologetic note as he reflected on his 88th outing for his country.

"Canada deserved to win and we stole it," said Lamont of Scotland's 19-17 victory. "But we've been on the wrong end of that kind of thing before, so we were just happy to win. It was ugly, but we'll take it."

The cap record still belongs to Chris Paterson, who made the first of his 109 appearances five years before Lamont's 2004 debut against Samoa, and Lamont admitted that equalling, let alone passing, Paterson's mark might be expecting too much at this stage of his career.

"Twenty one caps would take roughly two years," he said. "I have put two more years on my contract at Glasgow so, yes, it is doable. But that would mean playing every game and being fit and worthy of my position. It is a big ask. I would like to do it, but it is beyond my control.

"I've still got some way to go to catch Chris. But I'm happy because I still love playing for Scotland and I'll do it as long as I'm needed or wanted. But I'm not counting. I've got to keep earning my place.

"If I can be useful to Scotland in any capacity then I will play there. If they want me to play in the front row I'll play there, although I'm not saying I would be any good at it."

Yet if his reinvention as a prop or hooker is one of the unlikelier career moves Lamont could make, there was little doubt that he put his size to good use at Toronto's BMO field on Saturday. In a game where Scotland were too often punctured by hard-running Canadians, Lamont put in some pretty hard running of his own, and certainly concentrated the minds of the home defenders.

Yet it was typical of the match as a whole that individual cameos could not lift the collective malaise of Scotland's performance. "We knew it would be a tougher test than America," continued Lamont. "But our ball retention and accuracy was way off where it should have been.

"We kept pissing away ball. We should simply have just held it and put the pressure on them instead of letting them get right back into it after the kick-off and little things like that. It's not good enough."

Lamont's view that the Scots were lucky extended to the incident that, more than any other, swung the game their way, when Jebb Sinclair was sent off for a dangerous challenge on Ruaridh Jackson, and a potentially match-winning penalty for the Canadians was reversed and awarded instead to Scotland.

"I thought it was a bit harsh," said Lamont. "Yes, he led with an elbow, but probably no more than I did for most of the game. I suppose it did change the momentum. I could see the referee checking his earpiece. I was thinking this was a penalty for Canada to take the lead; here we go again. So it was a big turnaround. It was their last chance of a shot at goal, and the red card must have dampened them down a bit."

While some members of the Scotland party flew to Argentina last night, Lamont was heading back to Scotland. But not for a long summer off, for in a couple of weeks he will join the national sevens squad preparing for next month's Commonwealth Games. It does beg the question whether the veteran might be better taking things easy, but Lamont has no doubts.

"Having that flexibility [to play sevens] is not a bad thing, especially when age is creeping up," he smiled. "And after the Commonwealth Games I get a three-week block of time off. It's the old thing - I would always rather be involved than not."

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