HAMISH WATSON believes Scotland are a year away from where they want to be as a test international team.

There were positives the never-say-die flanker could take from the defeat in Dublin but he’s no fool and knows that mistakes of the avoidable kind badly cost his team.

Ireland would probably still have won had passes gone to hand in terms of Scotland scoring tries or them presenting Ireland with they’re opening score; however, had these silly errors been cut out, the game would have been a lot closer and when it’s closer you just never know.

As it was, Ireland took their chances and in the end were well worth their bonus point win.

Watson believes that after a summer tour and this year’s Autumn internationals, a different Scotland, a better Scotland, will be seen at the 2019 Six Nations.

“This was a lot closer than Cardiff,” he said. “I honestly think we are getting closer but we are still a year or so behind. Hopefully we will develop that team culture and get the away wins.

“You saw what happened against them at home last year when we played really well. Away from home is an entirely different story. We created opportunities here that we maybe haven’t in the past. Next year we have them at home and then in the World Cup.

“It’s really frustrating. We did alright out there but there were too many small errors that crept in at the wrong time. We created a lot of chances…it was very different to the Wales game because we were right in it and making good line breaks and opportunities but not finishing them off. That cost us.

“There were some big errors in the fact we made the line breaks. But it was in the exit zone as well - giving them easy exits and giving away silly penalties there. That took the pressure off them. The big errors were annoying.”

It’s all about learning and the hope is Scotland do improve in the areas which let them down on Saturday.

Nobody can accuse these players of giving anything but their all. Even when the game was well gone, they put their bodies on the line and tried to get through Ireland. What they lacked was precision in their execution.

For the Scots supporters in Dublin, this ended up a hard watch. But in the cold light of day, it was maybe not quite as bad as it felt at the time.

“After last week we did pretty well at the breakdown,” said Watson. “They would have put a huge emphasis on that in training. They were decent at the breakdown, but I think we matched them in that area.

“It was a very physical game. It was tough and there are a few sore bodies now. You know what Ireland are going to do because they are a very physical team and they did that part of the game really well. We have to recover now for a big game next week.

“We have a very different playing style to Ireland. That works for them, they are the number three team in the world. They are a great team and although our styles are different there are definitely things we can look at and put into our game.

“Their composure when they exit, not rushing to exit but doing it on their own terms. Small stuff like that.

“I think we can be a lot more positive compared to Cardiff. We started well and they were a bit shaken in the first 10 minutes. But we let them get back in the game.

“After that we still reacted well. It is completely different to the Cardiff performance. We created a lot. On another day, who knows? But it’s still a big scoreline and we will have get better for next week.”

Scotland need to finish on a high and running in a handful of tries against Italy would be just the tonic.

“I hope that happens,” said Watson. “We’ve got to bounce back. But no Scotland team in the past has gone to Rome and had an easy win.”