Every rugby playing boy and girl dreams of that moment when they trot out on to the pitch to make their international debut, and all the better if it happens on a day when their country secures a famous victory.

That fantasy became reality for Scott Steele on Saturday, but some of the other circumstances surrounding his first Scotland cap were too bizarre for him to have ever imagined.

For starters, there was no roar from the crowd to greet his arrival on the big stage, with Saturday’s 14-10 victory over Wales being played behind closed doors at Parc y Scarlets in Llanelli.

Not quite so unbelievable but equally disconcerting for the specialist scrum-half was the fact that injuries meant he was sent on to play out on the wing, marking the deadly Josh Adams, as the game hung in the balance during the final 10 minutes.

It was a big ask, but Steele took it all in his stride – showing the sort of steady self-belief which has allowed the 27-year-old from Dumfries to transform himself from a player without a contract during lockdown to a fully-fledged internationalist inside the space of a few short months.

“I’ve played a bit on the wing at club level over the years in similar scenarios,” he said. “If there are a few injuries or a yellow card, I’ve ended up out there, so it wasn’t completely alien to me. My defence is one of my strengths so that’s a reason I get given the job, and I quite enjoy it to be honest.

“It was nerve-racking coming on in such a tight and important game, but I managed to get by with no errors, so I was happy with that.”

Steele was a member of the same Scotland Under-20s programme as Ali Price, the current first choice No.9 in the senior squad, in 2013 – but he seemed to disappear off the Murrayfield radar after that, which was perhaps related to the fact he has played all his senior rugby in England, and not always regularly in the top flight.

However, the set-back of being released by London Irish after six seasons during the summer ended up a blessing in disguise. Harlequins picked him up as a free agent and his form for the Premiership club since rugby resumed earned him his belated call-up to Gregor Townsend’s squad ahead of the start of this Autumn’s Test schedule.

“I did think that the opportunity had come and gone but a new environment at club level and a new hunger has managed to make it happen, which has been great,” he said.