John Beattie in emotional tribute to Al Kellock

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FORMER Scotland forward John Beattie has admitted that he broke down in tears while awarding fellow Glaswegian Al Kellock a commemorative jersey to mark his 50th cap moments after the 12-8 victory over Ireland at Murrayfield on Sunday.

Beattie, 55, who won 25 caps in the 1980s, and now works as a broadcaster, revealed in his column on the BBC Sport website: “My speech was prepared. In my head I was going to talk about the 1,000 or so men who had represented Scotland since 1871. I’d mention that around 300 might still be alive, and how proud they would have been of him and of watching the team win.

“Then there was a bit about him being a Glasgow boy and then I’d give him his jersey. Team manager Gav Scott gave me the jersey outside the changing room door, and I mentioned to him that I was pretty tired and might cry. He said with a smile: ‘It’s best if you cry…’

“So I was ushered in, feeling completely ill-at-ease to be back in an international dressing room nearly 30 years since the last time, and saw all the players smiling.

“I garbled the words ‘three hundred’, thrust the jersey into Kellock’s arms, burst into tears, and ran out the room. Utterly pathetic.”

Kellock came off the bench for his landmark cap with ten minutes to go on Sunday as Scotland clung on for a win that defied the statistics.

Beattie, whose son Johnnie played his part in the victory, said in his BBC column: “Ireland may have enjoyed 71 per cent of possession, but they lacked a reliable kicker. You have to either get the ball over the line, or get it between the posts to win a game. Nothing else really matters.

“All rugby players have taken part in a game where they have outscored the opposition in terms of tries, but the other team have a kicker who can kick from anywhere and you lose.

“The only statistic that really matters, surely, is the final score.”

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