SCOTLAND may have produced some encouraging signs in their opening two Six Nations fixtures, but the bottom line remains that they have yet to win a match.

Defeat to England at Murrayfield on Saturday, which saw the Scots lose the Calcutta Cup that they have held for the past two years, came on the back of their defeat to Ireland in Dublin a fortnight ago and so just as they did at the World Cup last year, Gregor Townsend’s men are having to attempt to rescue their tournament from a losing start.

Scotland’s next appearance will be in two weeks time, when they travel to Rome to face Italy in what scrum-half Ali Price has called a “must-win” game.

Scotland have a good record against the Italians, winning the previous seven clashes, and Price is in no doubt as to what outcome he and his compatriots must achieve a week on Saturday which will he hopes, generate some momentum for the remainder of the tournament.

“We go to Rome now and we must win,” said Price.

“(We must) be confident that we can win.

“It’s then France at home, again it’s another opportunity in front of our supporters and fans to put a foot forward and try and come away with a win.

“Then we’d be two from two and go to Cardiff with a bit of momentum. That’s the goal now.”

Against England, Price was a consistent threat but the weather, which saw treacherous winds and driving rain batter Murrayfield, meant that playing free-flowing rugby was nigh on impossible.

Both sides were plagued by errors but England managed the conditions marginally better. Scotland’s second loss in as many weeks in games in which they had chances to win has, unsurprisingly, attracted much criticism but Price insisted the side will take this on the chin, while continuing to focus on the positives of their performances in Dublin and Edinburgh.

“We’re all in this together and we’ll take what comes our way,” he said of the squad’s reaction to the criticism.

“We’ve played Ireland away who have lost one home game in however many years.

“Then we play England who made it to the World Cup Final a couple of months ago. And we could have won both of them really, we were right in the game.

“We know that we’re not far away, there’s a new feel around the squad with some boys retiring and we try to bring a new energy to what the squad’s about. And it’s there.

“We’re enjoying our training and enjoying going out and putting it in with each other. We just need to flip these result.

“It’s easier said than done, but these good teams that are doing that, Ireland, England, we’re the team that’s just lost. We want to flip that. We’ll stick together, we’re a tight bunch and we’ll target these next three games - we want to win these next three.

“I feel we can build on aspects of both games, probably more so Ireland. But we can build on those aspects of things we did right.”

From a personal point of view, Price is content with where his career is at present, particularly bearing in mind the lows he’s had in recent times.

The English-born Glasgow Warriors man made his international debut in 2016 and remained a Scotland regular for two years. However, a poor game against Wales at the 2018 Six Nations saw him relegated to the bench for the remainder of the tournament. That performance resulted in a barrage of criticism on social media, as well as him losing his spot for his club in the aftermath of the tournament.

It was, he says, a case of complacency having crept in and as tough a spell as that was, he admits he has learnt a lot from that period and it resulted in him maturing as a player, as well as vowing to never allow himself to be in such a predicament again.

“I’d never been in that position before. I’d never had a bad game in a big game. The criticism I had afterwards, I made the mistake of reading every keyboard warrior out there and it got to me,” the 26-year-old said.

“Until I was in that situation, I didn’t know how I’d react and I didn’t react well. What I’d worked so hard to get was suddenly gone within the space of a couple of weeks, and then the tournament had finished and I couldn’t get a club game.

“It snowballed. But for me, getting comfortable, I had to learn.”

This absence of Finn Russell has been much talked-about this tournament and Price, a close friend and former flatmate of the Racing 92 fly-half, likely knows more than most the reality of the situation.

But he admits that no one can know if Russell had remained in the squad if results would have been different over the past two weeks.

“We’re not just a one man team and I think Adam (Hastings) has come in and considering the circumstances and what publicised everywhere, has done a really good job,” he said.

“Does Finn come in and add depth to 10, of course he does, he’s a world class 10 and would give Adam a shoot out for the shirt. Competition’s always better in training. But would results have been different (with Finn)? We’ll never know.”