Ali Price was delighted with every single one of the eight Scottish call-ups during Thursday’s Lions squad announcement, but you imagine that the selection of his old partner in crime Finn Russell was the biggest buzz. 

The close pals shared a flat in Glasgow before Russell moved to Paris to join Racing 92 three years ago, and despite no longer being joined at the hip at club level, their near telepathic understanding of each other as half-back partners has endured on the international stage

Now, as they prepare to embark on their biggest adventure yet, Price is determined to be a steadying influence against the talismanic Russell’s wilder instincts, without impeding the imagination and flair which makes the stand-off so special. 

“As everyone knows, we get on incredibly well, and it’s a good relationship to have as half-backs,” says the scrum-half. “It’s good to bounce ideas off each other. He’s maybe at one end of the spectrum, and I’m trying to bring him back to the middle line almost.  

“It’s brilliant that he’s coming on the tour as well. He’s an incredibly exciting player. And hopefully if we make it through in one piece, it should mean we get a break at the same time.  With what’s going on in the world just now, it’s tough to have breaks or go and visit people. I’ve not been over to Paris to visit for almost three years, so to potentially do that after the summer would be nice.” 

During the first three years of his international career – when he was generally understudy to Greig Laidlaw – Price was seen as a livewire option who could come on and add tempo during the final quarter, and the fact that he was regularly left unused on the bench in tight matches suggests that the coaching staff had doubts about his ability to play the percentages.

That has changed during the 18 months since Laidlaw hung up his international boots, and while some Scotland supporters have become frustrated with his more cautious approach and propensity to kick, his Lions call-up suggests that he has made the right impression with the people who really matter.

“I feel like I read the game better now than I did when I first came through,” he agrees. “For me, especially at Test match level, it’s more about constructing the game rather than just trying to run from anywhere from the start.”