News of a partial rapprochement between Finn Russell and Gregor Townsend is clearly welcome. The stand-off is a world-class rugby player who at 27 is approaching his peak, and has the ability to transform a Scotland performance in a way that no other member of the squad can emulate. Whatever the rights and wrongs of his fallout with the national coach, his continued omission from the squad beyond the Six Nations would obviously be to no-one’s advantage.

But we should beware of presuming that a few cordial phone conversations between Russell and Townsend mean the entire issue has been resolved. In essence, those conversations were no more than talks about talks, which amounted to the two agreeing that they hope to speak again after the Championship with a view to Russell’s going on the summer tour to South Africa and New Zealand.

What is more, although some people may have seen the whole affair as arising from one player’s intransigence, the reality is that the issue goes beyond a dispute between two men. It may be natural to want to take sides in any controversy, to decide in this case that you are either part of Team Finn or Team Toony, but the picture is more nuanced than that black-and-white perception of it.

For a start, the suggestion by some of Russell’s detractors that he has become a prima donna and is no longer a team player seems well wide of the mark. From the earliest days of his career, he has been approachable, friendly and down to earth, with a nice line in self-deprecating humour. In short, he is one of the most likeable men in Scottish sport.

Of course, that hardly means that he can do no wrong, or that the fault for the dispute lies wholly with Townsend. But, while Russell may well have reacted badly in his dealings with the coach, he is not alone in expressing some dissatisfaction with the way the squad is being run.

Given Scotland’s recent results, it would in fact be a surprise and a concern if only one player were dissatisfied. In that regard, the suggestion by some Murrayfield employees that all is sweetness and light within the camp is absurd. You want players and coaches to feel frustrated when results do not go their way, and you want those players to think for themselves.

But there is still a need for collective discipline. A need to accept that there is a hierarchy within the squad, and that Townsend is at the apex of that hierarchy.

Russell will have to accept that before he comes back into the squad, while for his part Townsend may have to find a way to be more comfortable in his reaction to criticism.

The right kind of disagreement is a vital part of the creative process in any group. Before working together again, Townsend and Russell need to agree on a level of disagreement that they are both comfortable with. Without give and take on both sides, the current rapprochement could be in danger of remaining only partial for some time yet.