Ross Ford will captain Scotland into this season's RBS 6 Nations Championship after Scotland's management reverted to the conventional wisdom of selecting a leader who is guaranteed his place in the team, writes Kevin Ferrie.

There had been criticism of the decision to select Al Kellock as captain for this season's World Cup only to then omit him for important matches during the tournament. That has clearly been taken on board with the appointment of the 27-year-old Edinburgh hooker who has been an automatic choice in winning most of his 53 caps.

Ford was, however, second choice for the role after fellow Borderer Kelly Brown was ruled out of the campaign by a leg injury suffered in Sunday's last round of Heineken Cup pool matches.

Andy Robinson, Scotland's head coach, expressed mixed emotions in announcing his decision at the team's training camp in St Andrews, congratulating Ford but expressing disappointment for Brown.

"This is a special day for Ross, who has been a key figure in our leadership group and our most consistent performer for some time. I firmly believe he is the man who will step up and lead from the front," he said. "That said, I'm really disappointed for Kelly Brown and I wish him a speedy recovery."

Though hugely respected by his colleagues, Ford is no natural speech-maker and he reinforced the message that his emphasis will be on leading by his actions.

"For me, the big thing is leading from the front and actually showing a good example to the boys, as well as backing it up with words," he said. "First and foremost is 'do it', do it for everybody to see and that's the way I'll be looking to lead the team against England. I said before that when I started this leadership process, I lead by example, and that's how I'll do it as captain."

Brown typically offered his full support. "I'm gutted to be missing out as it's hard for me to quantify just how much it means to me to play for Scotland, but today I want to offer my wholehearted congratulations to Fordy, who I know will do a great job," said the Saracens back-row man.

Robinson also indicated yesterday that he remains optimistic about the prospects of dual-qualified midfielder Steve Shingler, whom he controversially included in this squad, ultimately being cleared to play for Scotland.

"We had him here for one day," he said. "He was introduced to all the squad and it gave us a chance to say to him that we will continue to support him through the process. We believe that in the end he is going to be a Scotland player."

Gordon Bulloch, Scotland's most-capped hooker and a former captain, last night backed Ford to be an inspirational Scotland leader.

Bulloch said: "It was vital for Andy to choose a captain who will be right out in front in terms of selection. He needed someone who will be one of the first names on the team-sheet – and there is no doubt about Ross' credentials in that respect.

"Fordy is a guy who has toured with the Lions, has more than 50 caps and he will command the respect of the players around him. It is also a fantastic opportunity for him to take his own game to another level because he definitely has the potential to be a truly world-class performer."

Bulloch went on: "He already has achieved a huge amount in terms of commitment and application by switching positions from the back row relatively recently. He has developed into a level headed individual who I am certain will do a great job."

The choice of Ford sparked a positive reaction from other leading rugby names throughout Scotland .

His Edinburgh team-mate Roddy Grant said: "It is awesome news – I could not be more pleased."

Another Edinburgh colleague said: "Congratulations to Fudge – exciting times for him and Scotland."