Any defeat is a disappointment, of course, and all the more so when the stakes are as high as they were for Scotland on Sunday. But the 22-7 loss to Ireland was additionally frustrating for the squad because, in addition to being a Triple Crown decider, they were desperate to mark Stuart Hogg’s 100th cap with a historic victory.

“We’re all pretty gutted, because it was a monumental occasion for him getting to 100 caps,” Scott Cummings said. “I don’t want to put it lightly, how hard that is to achieve. I think it’s something ridiculous like 99 of them he started as well.

“He’s a true legend of Scottish rugby. He’s put in an amazing shift for Scotland, he always puts his body on the line, so we were gutted that we couldn’t get the win for him. That was our main goal. But obviously it’s amazing to play alongside such a great player.”

Cummings, who came off the bench early in the first half after Richie Gray was injured, now seems certain to start against Italy in Saturday’s final round of the Six Nations, in which a victory could be enough to secure a third-place finish for Scotland. His chances of playing alongside Hogg for a second time in a week have been dashed, however, as the full-back was another casualty of a bruising battle and is unavailable for selection.

But no matter how many changes there may be to the starting line-up, the aim of those who take to the field will be the same: to put in the complete performance that was conspicuous by its absence and thus finish off the Championship on a high.

“We were obviously frustrated with our performance at the end of the Ireland game,” Glasgow lock Cummings continued. “In the first half we played well and it was a tough match, the game was in the scales, but in the second half we just didn’t perform in the way that we can perform.

“We’re our own harshest critics. We were pretty gutted with the second half. You look at some of the opportunities that we had and didn’t take, and that Ireland had and managed to take. There’s definitely stuff we can learn from that and be that bit more clinical.

“It’s important for us to now focus on Italy, take our lessons from Ireland, but focus on Italy and end the tournament on a bit more positive note. We’re still trying to build as a squad, and we’re still looking for that 80-minute performance. We’ll be focusing on trying to get that on Saturday.

“It’s obviously an important game. We want to finish on a high, but you know Italy are a very good team. They’re improving a lot, making a lot of line breaks, that sort of stuff, so it’s going to be a tough task.”

There was a positive side to Sunday’s match for Cummings as an individual, as it marked his return to the national side after a long spell on the sidelines with a foot injury.

Warriors coach Franco Smith had suggested there was no need to rush the forward back into the Scotland line-up, but in the event he looked fresh enough and lasted the pace well.

“I’m just really enjoying being back,” Cummings added. “It’s been three-and-a-half months from when I got injured, and at the time, to be honest, we sort of hoped I was going to be back for the start of [the Six Nations]. My foot just didn’t maybe quite get there as quick as I’d hoped and we’d all hoped.

“You don’t want to rush it as well. You don’t want to come back and you’re not fit, so I was happy to wait an extra week or two. I feel like I’m flying now, I don’t feel the foot at all, so yeah, good to be back.

“I was just really happy to get back out playing for Glasgow for a couple of weeks and then I was really happy to be called in and get in the squad. I’ll do whatever job it is, whether it’s starting, bench or non-23. I’m honestly just happy to be back and involved.”