JIM Hamilton collected the Man of the Match award and paid tribute to the work of Scotland players, not only in this squad but previous ones, as having played a huge part in the team’s back-to-back wins.
The big Gloucester lock has had his critics north of the border, which Scotland coach Scott Johnson spoke of when he said: “I’ve learned in my short time here that Jim’s not everyone’s cup of tea in Scotland, but he’s probably a bit lucky that the coaching staff are coffee drinkers. He does things awkwardly and he was awkwardly effective today, and that was what we needed. I didn’t pick him for his looks.”
Hamilton wore a wry smile after the 12-8 win, swithering between playing down praise of the display and the way his team-mates hung on after he was replaced, and celebrating the rare taste of a Six Nations win.
“For the last couple of years it’s been difficult for me personally and for the team not winning many games,” he said. “Whether it’s back-to-back or just winning a game it’s fantastic.
“We know how much work we’ve put in over the years and to get a win over a very good Ireland team just feels great right now, and the stats [possession and territory] don’t matter.
“We’ve been in that [Ireland’s] position before. I remember France here last year and other games at Murrayfield where we’ve had all the possession and come away with nothing. So it’s all very well looking at [statistics for] possession and areas of the field but it’s all about winning and losing at this level. “If Ireland had 99 per cent of the possession and we had one per cent, and we won the game, we’d still be happy with that.
“Of course, we understand that there’s a lot to work on going forward but Ireland are a quality team and have some quality players, and for us to put them under pressure was fantastic… but that game was never won until the final minute.
“And people might say there was luck there, but we’ve worked extremely hard to identify how you win Test matches, working particularly on the set-piece and contact area, and that doesn’t have anything to do with luck.
“But we’ve got to stay humble and grounded because we’re in a tournament here.”
Asked if this win topped his others against Australia, Fiji and Samoa, the man who kicked the crucial points, scrum-half Greig Laidlaw, replied: “Probably yes, because it was at home. Those wins I wouldn’t underestimate, but we’re delighted to get a second Six Nations win and it puts us in a good position.
“But I’m just proud of the boys. Everybody put their bodies on the line and that’s why we won the game.”