Ireland skipper Rory Best admitted his relief as the reigning Grand Slam champions got back to winning ways in the Guinness Six Nations with a 22-13 victory in Edinburgh, but conceded that it was by no means straightforward.
Scores from Conor Murray, Jacob Stockdale and Keith Earls were just enough to keep Scotland at bay, although Joe Schmidt’s men were made to fight for the result throughout.
And captain Best said that, while it might not have been pretty for the full 80, the win was just the tonic after their 32-20 defeat to England on the opening weekend.
“That was a tough game and it was tough mentally in the build-up too,” he said.
“We asked for a physical reaction that we didn’t have last week. By and large we got that – it maybe wasn’t the most spectacular game of rugby to watch but it was two teams going hard at each other and we are really grateful to win.
“We had a couple of chances and we took them, and we were clinical when we had it.
“We have got a lot of improving to do and at the same time we had to wear them down you saw how good they were in defence and I think by and large we fronted up to that as we had to.”
Head coach Schmidt echoed the thoughts of his deputy, glad to see his players dig in to get a result in what were trying circumstances.
But the New Zealander made sure to highlight what was one of the shining takeaways from a gritty afternoon’s work: the performance of Joey Carbery.
“It wasn’t the prettiest game, but we got a peach of a set-piece try and we restricted them to just an intercept try. That was a massive defensive effort.
“Joey (Carbery) had a rough introduction throwing that intercept and that knocked his confidence.
“But he is growing and the more often he is in the big games, the more comfortable he will be in the role.”