Doddie Weir, the former Melrose lock now playing his rugby at Newcastle, has become the first recipient of the Famous Grouse Scotland Player of the Five Nations Award.

The 45-times capped Weir was voted top player by a panel of Scottish rugby writers who nominated their best five after each match.

Given the fact that votes were cast after each of the four championship matches, it says much for Alan Tait who, after playing in just two of the five nations games, finished second.

Scotland captain Rob Wainwright was third, Gregor Townsend fourth, and there was a tie for fifth place between prop Tom Smith and wing/centre Tony Stanger.

Accepting the award at Murrayfield yesterday, Weir praised props Smith and Matt Stewart for providing the ''lift'' in the lineout and hooker Graham Ellis for his throwing in.

But Weir also was full of praise for Newcastle fitness adviser Steve Black. ''It is important to have a coach with a power-lifting background,'' said Weir. ''Steve pushed me to new limits in weight training.

''I have improved my body conditioning, fitness, and overall strength since coming to Newcastle.

''Steve, who is a former power lifter, and who has helped a lot of soccer players, puts us on individual programmes,'' stated Weir, whose perceived dip in form more than likely had a lot to do with his need to do a lot of catch-up weight-training last autumn.

''I had to do a lot of bulking work whereas players like Gareth Archer were on strength maintenance schedules. But that was aimed specifically at me,'' said Weir who also finds the build-up to matches to his liking. ''We often just walk through moves on the day before a match.

''We are also encouraged to rest in the lead-up to big games,'' said Weir.

Perhaps comparing the conditions at Newcastle to those in which his Murrayfield- based Scotland colleagues train, Weir said: ''In New- castle we have a variety of different training venues - from beach to track.

''That undoubtedly helps to keep the boredom away.''

Looking back on what turned out to be his best championship, Weir said: ''It was a typical season in that I got dropped before Christmas. But a lot of that that had to do with the length of the season. Finlay Calder told me that you can't be at your best week-in, week-out.

''I've got to peak for big games. I tend to pace myself early on.

''You have to with so many matches in the season,'' stated Weir, who aligns himself with Gavin Hastings on the subject of what time of year rugby should be played.

''I favour summer rugby. The crowds like it and the players like it because you can have a fast, running game,'' said Weir, who if, as seems unlikely, is not picked for the Lions tour to South Africa in the summer, will be there any way with Scotland.

''The summer tour will be a chance to get Scottish rugby back on the rails,'' he said.

Alan Tait's second place reflects the former league player's immense contribution in just two matches in which he scored three tries, one against Ireland and two against France.

To have eclipsed both Wainwright and Townsend is remarkable but, in a sense, it also represents what has been a disappointing championship for the two last-named players.

Wainwright was not helped by having to play out of position at No.8 against Wales and then England before being moved to his optimum berth at blindside flanker.

Equally so, Townsend's shifts between stand-off and inside centre appear to have unsettled the Northampton player to the extent that his confidence appears to have deserted him.

On Saturday, he was anonymous, but earlier in the championship he contributed to a score against Wales by Scott Hastings with a fingertip flip pass, scored a try against Ireland, and, against England, at least attempted to put some verve into Scotland's play.

Smith deservedly came into the rankings but like Tait and Craig Chalmers he did not play in all the championship matches.

Smith, however, along with Weir, Tait, Townsend, and Wainwright looks a likely bet for the Lions party.

Tony Stanger was another player to experience a shift of position mid-championship when he was fielded at centre against England.

His performance against England suggests that the centre option will remain but it is his try against Ireland that is more likely to live in the memory. Famous Grouse Scotland player of the Five Nations Award placings:

1, Doddie Weir, 181 points; 2, Alan Tait, 96; 3, Rob Wainwright, 77; 4, Gregor Townsend, 52; 5 equal, Tom Smith and Tony Stanger, both 48.