Scotland legend Scott Hastings believes that Matt Scott can follow the lead of his international team-mate Greig Laidlaw and really flourish at Gloucester when he joins up with the English club next season.
At the weekend it was announced that 25-year-old centre Scott would be leaving Edinburgh at the end of the current campaign to continue his career down south at Kingsholm.
And while the news has undoubtedly come as a blow to Edinburgh head coach Alan Solomons, Hastings believes that the move will help Scott to become an even better player – which in turn will be a good thing for the national team.
“I remember watching Matt Scott playing for Currie a few years ago and thinking that he had something about him, but the way that he has come through and flourished with Edinburgh and Scotland in recent years has been really impressive,” said Hastings, 51.
“He has really become strong in defence while in attack he is an intelligent player who can create things for those outside him.
“I know that he has enjoyed playing for Edinburgh and he has become a key player as the club try and become a top six Guinness Pro12 side regularly, but perhaps he felt that this summer coming was the right time to move out of his comfort zone a little bit.
“He will have seen what Greig Laidlaw has done since he has joined Gloucester and he will have thought that he would like to play in that environment too.
“Being at Gloucester since the summer of 2014 has helped make Greig into a really top class player.
“He is quite a quiet guy, but he has stepped up to the plate and has really flourished in the English top flight, bossing games from scrum-half and causing problems.
“That in turn saw his Scotland form become even better and I think Matt will also flourish from being involved in a really tough league whilst having to prove himself week in, week out.”
If Scott can go to Gloucester and hit the ground running in the number 12 jersey then there is every chance that he will form a dangerous centre pairing with England cap Billy Twelvetrees.
“Gloucester have some really good backs in their side and Matt will only add to their competition for places,” said Hastings said. “It would be good to see him and Twelvetrees linking-up together and I think they would cause a few defensives problems because they are both strong runners and good on the ball.”
Scott now has 25 Scotland caps under his belt since he made his debut against Ireland off the bench in 2012.
He was frustrated to miss the World Cup quarter-final against Australia in October when he picked up a back injury just days before the knock-out clash at Twickenham.
He had played his part in all of the pool matches and will be keen to earn the No 12 jersey back from Peter Horne for the Six Nations opener against England on 6 February.
Scott is set to be named in Vern Cotter’s squad for the tournament later today and Hastings is looking forward to seeing how the centres progress.
He said: “If Mark Bennett is fit then he is the man that will definitely wear the number 13 jersey and then Matt is joined by the likes of Peter Horne and Alex Dunbar to battle it out for that 12 spot.
“They all offer something different and have pretty good experience under their belts so it is a nice selection problem for Vern Cotter to have. The backline started looking dangerous in 2015 and they will want to take that on a level this year.”
Meanwhile, yesterday marked 30 years since Hastings himself made his debut for Scotland.
On 18 January, 1986 they defeated France 18-17 in the Five Nations Championship at Murrayfield with Scott’s brother Gavin, David Sole, Finlay Calder, Matt Duncan and Jeremy Campbell-Lamerton also earning their first caps that afternoon.