SIR Ian McGeechan has slammed Scotland’s Six Nations woes as “depressing” and “painful”. And he is glad the Murrayfield pitch is so bad, fearing that England could have won by a far wider margin on a decent surface.
The former Scotland and British and Irish Lions coach watched as Scott Johnson’s side failed to trouble the scorers in Saturday’s Calcutta Cup clash. And Sir Ian, now chairman of Leeds Carnegie, who anounced a new club initiave in the form of Yorkshire Carnegie yesterday, said: “It was very painful. We didn’t look like scoring, never mind winning, that was the worst thing. It was depressing.
“The pitch was a good leveller, it kept England to 20 points. When Scotland play well they’re playing a bit more leftfield, with options and throwing different things out. But they looked conservative, which worried me.
“It’s very different to play a structured game against the likes of England, who are so powerful in structured areas. There are good players there, it’s knowing that international rugby is a very tough place to be.”
McGeechan won 32 caps for Scotland before coaching them to their last Grand Slam, in the 1990 Five Nations. But he admits he cannot give a timescale on when things will turn around for his country. He added: “I don’t know how long it will take to turn around. If you’ve only got two professional teams, it’s a very narrow base to produce players from. And there aren’t the players in the Borders now as there aren’t many jobs there. It’s not like the 1970s where there was the woollen mills in Hawick and Gala, they’ve gone “You haven’t got that same base. So you’ve got to keep as many Scottish qualified players in the system as you can and you hope some of them will go to England or France and develop there. In the Scottish side I played in, half were what we then called Anglos, as they played outside Scotland.”