Matt Scott goes into tomorrow’s Edinburgh v Glasgow rugby clash at Scotstoun determined that lightning will not be allowed to strike twice having been sin-binned in his last derby appearance.
To this day international centre Scott, who has learned from the experience, appears to bear a mental scar. “I got yellow carded which pretty much cost us the game. It wasn’t the highlight of my season,” he said.
The incident which reduced Edinburgh temporarily to 14 men came with 12 minutes remaining and the scores level at 9-9. Glasgow went on to win 17-12.
Scott recalled: “My card came for a spear tackle on Rob Harley which was unintentional. It was not something I had ever done in my life and I just tried to make a better tackle and caught him quite sweetly.
“It might have looked bad from the sidelines and it was at Firhill where the home crowd gave a big roar.
“Since the World Cup (when Wales captain Sam Warburton was sent off in a semi-final for a similar offence) you have to be all the more careful. Everybody is aware of that and it was not something I intentionally did.
“All the other guys thought it was a fine tackle and that I wouldn’t have done anything stupid to cost the team but the card was handed out.”
In fact, it was touch judge Andy Macpherson who intervened leaving referee Peter Allan to brandish the card.
Scott added: “The return of this game is a reminder not to do that again.”
According to Scott it is not only the physical tackles that fly in hard. An inaugural taste of the derby 12 months ago taught him that as well.
“These are pretty hostile games with a bit of ‘sledging’ on the pitch,” revealed the 22-year-old. “We are all pals off the pitch but it is pretty ferocious out there. At least it won’t be an alien experience and I am grateful for that.
“As for the ‘sledging’ it is all to get an edge and we’ll give as good as we take although I’m not the type who is really big on all that. I like to focus on my own game as opposed to trying to put the opposition off.
“There will be guys on the other side more inclined to do stuff like that. You get it (sledging) more playing teams like Munster who are good at winding you up on the pitch but in derby games both teams are able to do that.
“A little bit goes on in backs as well as the forwards where guys like (Glasgow captain) Al Kellock like having a word or two. We will have guys in our team who will be the same, though.”
Ironically, Scott could have been lining up in the opposite camp.
“I had the chance to join Glasgow after an under-20 World Cup a few years ago but I was at Edinburgh University and wanted to finish my (law) studies.
“It was a bit of a gamble because I could have fallen out of professional rugby but things worked out well.
“I spent another year at the Currie club then was offered a development contract by Edinburgh, and I got my degree.”
So, Scott is likely to find himself lining up alongside Nick De Luca, a 38-cap international colleague who has been lending his vast experience to the team by instilling himself as a motivator ahead of the derby clash with Warriors.
“There has been real intensity to our training this week, more of an edge perhaps because we are in a worse position than last year where the Heineken Cup is concerned and know the Rabo Direct league is our one chance of silverware.
“Nick stood up and spoke very, very passionately about beating Glasgow and that has rubbed off on the rest of us.
“Of course it is good to hear from the coach but coming from one of your playing peers gives a bit more emphasis to things.
“Nick stressed how putting down a marker in defence can set the tone.”
There are other incentives, too, and Scott needs no reminding that places in the Scotland team for the up coming Six Nations can be up for grabs.
“There are three Glasgow centres who can potentially play at No. 12 for Scotland – Pete Horne, Alex Dunbar and Graeme Morrison.
“They will be gunning for me. I am the guy with the position at the moment and we had a poor Autumn series so I will have to be at my best.”
It goes without saying that this means an 80-minute shift, or as long as is required, this time around.