EIGHT tries scored, only one conceded, and a record winning margin for Scotland in any Championship match. What is more, Gregor Townsend reported after the game that it appeared his team had suffered no injuries. On to Paris, then, in good shape mentally and physically.

Of course, France on Friday night will be a far tougher proposition. Italy were poor: ragged in defence, toothless in attack apart from the opening minutes, they hampered their own cause by having three players sin-binned.

But we have seen limited Italy sides of the past cause Scotland real problems by dragging them into an arm-wrestle. Here the home side dictated the style and shape of the game, and reaped the benefit as their backs ran riot.

Duhan van der Merwe scored two tries and was at his wrecking-ball best, Huw Jones got another and displayed the elegant incisiveness of old, while Scott Steele, Sam Johnson and Darcy Graham all got on the scoresheet too.

Needless to say, it was not all about the backs. Hooker Dave Cherry scored his team’s other tries, hyperactive Hamish Watson was man of the match, and the scrum functioned effectively.

If you wanted to nitpick, well, as Stuart Hogg pointed out afterwards, Scotland might easily have scored more tries, such was their dominance. The captain converted six of his team’s eight touchdowns, and from his unfamiliar position of stand-off kept the attack ticking over nicely.

But really, once Scotland put a slightly shaky start behind them, there was next to nothing to grumble about.

Luca Bigi, who had the thankless task of trying to impose his leadership qualities on the visitors, took his try well from a line-out maul, and when Paolo Garbisi converted we were inevitably reminded of some past games between the two sides that went horribly wrong for Scotland.

However, the Italians did not hold on that lead for long. Cherry’s first, like Bigi’s, came from a line-out maul, then Van der Merwe finished off from a Watson pass after Jones had sliced the defence open. Hogg had missed the first conversion attempt, but made no mistake at the second time of asking, and from then on the only doubt was not who would win, but how much they would win by.

A Garbisi penalty kept the Azzurri in touch on the scoreboard for a while, but once Federico Mori was yellow-carded for a no-arms tackle on Jones the floodgates opened. Sean Maitland made the third try by all too easily racing through the middle of the defence, and Graham finished off from a Jones pop pass. Hogg was off target again, but found his kicking boots five minutes later after Jones had scored the bonus-point try. He did not mislay them again.

As the second half began with the Scots 24-10 ahead, the question was to what extent they would try to close the game down with Friday in mind. The answer was hardly at all, as they continued to expose the painfully obvious shortcomings in their opponents’ defence.

Cherry got his second from another line-out maul four minutes after the re-start, but any hopes the hooker harboured of a hat-trick were then dashed as Scotland changed their entire front row. By that time the Italians had little to hope for but the avoidance of an absolute trouncing, yet they continued to make life difficult for themselves through indiscipline.

Sebastian Negri became the second man to be binned after a deliberate knock-on, and then when he still had a minute of penal servitude to go, Monty Ioane joined him for a dangerous tackle on Hogg.

It arguably should have got even worse for Italy, as Michele Lamaro appeared fortunate not to be shown a card after going in on Jamie Ritchie with what the referee decided was shoulder-to-shoulder contact but to many looked like shoulder to head. Zander Fagerson, sent off against Wales for something very similar, might just have thought the incident merited more than a simple penalty.

The 15 men kept up the pressure, and with quarter-of-an-hour to go Johnson showed good strength to force himself over the line for Scotland’s seventh try, following a tapped penalty by substitute hooker George Turner.

Inside the final 10 minutes it was another replacement, Ali Price, whose counter-attack and one-handed, over-the-top pass set up the eighth and final try for Van der Merwe. That brought up the half century, Hogg added the conversion to take his tally to 12, and a satisfying afternoon came to a peaceful close.

Scotland were under a lot of pressure going into this game after their home defeats by Wales and Ireland, but they dealt with it impeccably.

They will make changes both in playing style and personnel for the France game, with Finn Russell set to return at stand-off for a start, but whatever 23 is selected, they will travel full of self-belief thanks to this commanding – and thoroughly entertaining – performance.

Scorers, Scotland - Tries: Cherry 2, Van der Merwe 2, Graham, Jones, Steele, Johnson. Cons: Hogg 6.

Italy - Try: Bisi. Con: Garbisi. Pen: Garbisi.

Scotland: S Maitland (J van der Walt 55); D Graham, H Jones, S Johnson (C Harris 66), D van der Merwe; S Hogg (captain), S Steele (A Price 55); R Sutherland (J Bhatti 49), D Cherry (G Turner 49), Z Fagerson (S Berghan 49), S Skinner, G Gilchrist (A Craig 62), J Ritchie, H Watson (N Haining 66), M Fagerson.

Italy: E Padovani; M Bellini, I Brex, F Mori (M Zanon 54), M Ioane; P Garbisi (C Canna 54), S Varney (M Violi 70); D Fischetti (A Lovotti 70), L Bigi (captain) (G Lucchesi 70), M Riccioni (G Zilocchi 32), N Cannone, F Ruzza (M Mbanda 62), S Negri, J Meyer (R Favretto 76), M Lamaro.

Yellow cards: Italy: Mori 19, Negri 52, Ioane 61.

Referee: P Gauzere (France).