It all got a bit Billy Connolly at Murrayfield yesterday as Edinburgh’s head coach profanely brought proceedings to an end.

Richard Cockerill had been understandably defensive when quizzed earlier about weekend reports that Robbie Freuan, one of his centres, was being forced to retire because of health problems.

When, then, he subsequently described another currently sidelined midfielder, Mark Bennett, as particularly straight-talking, he provided an opening which was duly taken as he was invited to guess what Bennett might say if asked about his colleague.

“He’ll tell you the same thing. **** off,” was the response, from the famously feisty former England hooker.

The comment was delivered in light-hearted fashion but pointed none the less and while it is understandable that Cockerill is feeling frustrated about the constant distractions that have drawn attention away from a run that has seen his side win six of their last seven matches, he knows that the reason for that lies inside, rather than outside the club.

Clearly he was irked by the way in which Freuan’s troubles emerged into the public arena, but before that he had been let down by the player he appointed as captain when Magnus Bradbury got involved in a late night incident and then by another of his senior players when John Hardie’s behaviour saw him suspended from playing until the New Year.

The coach is, though, wholly entitled to point towards the up-side, which is that he has managed to keep the rest of his players focused on their work during a sequence of games that included getting their European Challenge Cup campaign off to the perfect start with away wins at Krasny Yar and London Irish.

“We’re six from the last seven and we’ve just got on with it,” said Cockerill.

“The lads that have excluded themselves from the squad because of their behaviour… it’s not affected us. If people don’t want to be part of it and do things that they shouldn’t do, then they can step aside and other guys will step up, as they have.

“We’ve not missed Bradbury or Hardie when they’ve been missing, because we’ve got guys that have stepped up. (Luke) Crosbie and (Jamie) Ritchie have filled those spaces very well, Vili Mata has come back in and stepped up and Cornell (Du Preez) has been on very good form.

“That’s just how it is. I can only worry about the blokes that can play. Those that can’t, whether they’re injured or there are other things afoot, I have to put that to one side and get on with coaching the team and trying to get us to win, which is what I’m paid to do.”

Within that there is a clear message to all of his squad which Cockerill was only too willing to reinforce.

“I think it’s good for the strength of the squad that we’re not reliant on any one person. If people aren’t playing well, they won’t play. If they behave poorly, they won’t be part of the environment, and another man steps up and takes the opportunity, which thankfully we’ve had guys to do that,” he said.

“In Luke’s case, he’s taken his opportunity and he’s stayed in the team. At the weekend Magnus Bradbury was not in the 23 and Crosbie was on the bench because he deserved to be there for coverage of what we needed. No problem.”