A MAN of Vern Cotter’s exacting standards can never be entirely happy with a loss, but the Scotland head coach was nonetheless encouraged by several aspects of his team’s performance in their 28-22 defeat by Ireland yesterday. While rightly insisting there was a lot of work to be done, Cotter appeared confident that at least some of the defects could be ironed out in the coming weeks, starting next Saturday against Italy, and it was significant that his main concern was the injury to Ryan Grant rather than any single deficiency in his team’s play.

“I think there were some good things, and there are some things we can work on,” Cotter said. “We definitely need to be more accurate at times. The players’ intentions were good, but we let Ireland, who are a very good team, score a couple of tries perhaps a little bit too easily.

“It was good to play against top opposition. It’s a very good start,and I think we can fix those things as we move through the next three weeks. We can get better and we must get better.

“Our focus now is to improve on this game. We’ll play a different type of opposition next week, so adapting to them, but at the same time working on our set phase and on management of the game will be things we’ll be looking at. There’s so much more to do.”

Asked about Grant, Cotter refused to speculate on the length of any possible absence, but admitted he was concerned by the injuries to the prop and to several team-mates. “He’s had an X-ray and we haven’t had the results back, so I don’t know,” the coach said of Grant. “To offer something very accurate, I would think Monday is probably best. We’ll just wait and see.

“I’m really worried about the injuries. Fraser Brown has got a slight hamstring problem. Hugh Blake dislocated a finger - we’ll need to see if that’s fractured.

“Jon Welsh had a head assessment and he didn’t pass his protocol, so he didn’t come back on. He’ll be looked at during the week - he’ll undertake another test on Monday.”

Henry Pyrgos, the captain, offered a similar assessment to his coach. We came out a little bit cold, but as we got into the game we found our rhythm,” the scrum-half said. “We looked dangerous, but didn’t manage the game as well as we wanted..

“We scored some really good tries. There’s lots of positives to take. We need to kick on now.”