OUR results against Ireland in the past few years have been disappointing. Each time we’ve felt that we’ve been on top for much of the match, but crucial moments have gone against us and we’ve ended up on the losing side.

The key to victory at BT Murrayfield tomorrow will be to turn around those big moments in our favour. If we can do that, if we can execute our opportunities when they arise, it should be all good.

In that respect, the performance at Twickenham last month has to be the benchmark for us. Before that game our recent record against England had been pretty similar to our record against Ireland – we’d been competitive on the whole and had some decent results, but in a lot of matches key moments let us down.

That all changed last month, of course, when the boys won 11-6, and that performance can inspire us against Ireland. The way the team started, the way they carried themselves throughout the whole game, and then to finish the way they did with a massive defensive set – it was awesome.

I missed that game against England and the one against Wales as I was still completing my recovery from shoulder surgery, and I’ll miss tomorrow’s match too as I’m still serving the three-week suspension I was given for my red card against Leinster.

It’s always frustrating to miss out on big games, and in the case of the Wales match, frustration was the main emotion felt by everyone involved in the squad.

We were on top for the whole game and let them back into it through costly errors, which they exploited very well. This weekend has to be about minimising mistakes like that, and taking our chances when they come.

If you give the ball away in your own half against Ireland, or if you give up territory, you can be looking at a long time without possession. Ireland are very good at holding on to the ball for phase after phase after phase, which can be very frustrating at times.

So the biggest thing for us tomorrow will be to stay disciplined and wait for our chance in defence to get that turnover and force an error.

There’s a six-day turnaround from the Ireland match to Italy, but I don’t think that will present the squad with a problem. The boys will get into their recovery straight away and you might see a couple of fresh selections for that game.

Italy are a good team as well – their attack has been outstanding and their half-backs have been running the show really well. We’ll have to be fired up for that one as well – by no means will it be an easier game.

So we’ll have to make sure we nail our recovery and get straight into preparations to face the Italians.

Having said that, sometimes these quick turnarounds are almost a good thing, because you have a quick review of your last match then go straight on to the next one without too much time to dwell on things from the previous game.

Although I’m not available to play tomorrow, I’ve been able to do some work with the squad, which is a good thing. It has given me a chance to make sure my shoulder is 110 per cent.

I was ready to go when I was cleared to play, and have been fine the last two weeks as well. But it has been useful over the past couple of weeks to do some more strength work as well as being able to do some full-contact training.

The aim has been to make sure I’m feeling even better than I was before I injured my shoulder back in October, and I think I’m at that point now, which is good.

It’s been a pretty tough season for me personally as I was out for four months after injuring my shoulder, although one consolation was the fact that the campaign has been really stop-start – I think I only ended up missing four Glasgow games during those four months.

Hopefully we will all be able to have a better run of games over the coming couple of months, and whether I’m playing for the Warriors or Scotland or both, the thing I’m looking forward to most is getting some consistent game time.