Scotland need to finish on a high after Twickenham pain - Gordon Reid

Gordon Reid
Gordon Reid won his 23rd cap against England
Six Nations: Scotland v Italy
Venue: BT Murrayfield, Edinburgh Date: Saturday, 18 March Kick-off: 12:30 GMT
Coverage: Watch on BBC One, listen on BBC Radio Scotland, live text commentary on BBC Sport website

Gordon Reid is not the type to, as he puts it, "prance around" the reality of what happened at Twickenham last Saturday.

"They destroyed us," he says. "I'm not going to lie. They smashed us. We got pumped. Getting done by 60 points hurts big-time. It's an experience I don't ever want to feel again. A thing like that sits in you. It's like a rot. It's a rot in the pit of your stomach. You move on to the next game, but you never really forget. Nor should you."

In the aftermath of a horrific defeat you sometimes have to coax the words out of the players who were on the wrong end of it. Not Reid. Destroyed. Smashed. Pumped.

There were others as well. No English language scholar could have been as prolific as Reid was in coming up with different ways of saying thrashed or hammered. The prop could have gone head-to-head with and he'd have beaten it out the gate.

He wasn't short of perspective either. These Scotland players can't afford to mope - and they're not moping.

They know that a good season is still in their gift if they take care of Italy on Saturday. Not just good, but great - in a Scottish context. We all know the numbers from Twickenham, the stats that will, alas, stand the test of time. But there are others.

Scotland can achieve their highest ever place in the Six Nations if results go their way on the weekend - a bonus point win in Edinburgh, an England win in Dublin and a non-bonus point win for Wales in France. That sequence of events would put Scotland second.

Scotland have never been second in the Six Nations. They've never even had a chance of being second.

Gordon Reid
Reid scored his first Scotland try at Twickenham

They need five points against Italy to pass their all-time Six Nations points total (118 now and 122 last season) and they need two tries against Italy to pass their all-time Six Nations try total (10 now and 11 last season.)

They've scored as many tries in their last nine championship matches as they've done in their previous 20.

England's brilliance tends to obliterate all of that, but it shouldn't. Scotland got it horrifically wrong and England got it thrillingly right. A perfect storm when you add in the injury woes that befell the visitors on the day and in the weeks before.

Scotland travelled south without six players who would have made the 23 and probably five of them would have made the 15. Then they lost more players. It was the rudest awakening for everybody.

Scotland are making definite progress but it's only in the cold light of Saturday that you properly realise that they have a long road to go before they can go toe-to-toe with a fully-loaded England in their backyard. That's not just Scotland either. That's most teams. It was the Scots misfortune to run into a juggernaut last weekend.

"Nobody wants to feel that again," says Reid, but the fact is that most teams that ever achieved anything went through days like that.

In 2001, France lost to Wales and England and shipped 43 points to the former and 48 points to the latter. In 2002 they won the Grand Slam.

We all remember the desperate angst England experienced in trying to win a Slam before they finally did it in 2003. They beat Ireland 42-6 in Dublin to clinch it. That was a sobering day for Irish rugby. They learned from it. The following season they went to Twickenham and won. Ireland went on to win their first Triple Crown in nearly 20 years.

Scotland v Italy - last five meetings
The sides' 2015 Six Nations meeting was followed by two World Cup warm-ups

The 2004 season saw Wales concede six tries to Ireland in a thumping defeat. A year later they beat Ireland to win a Grand Slam. Ireland were a mess in 2008 but won a Slam in 2009. They won one match in the 2013 Six Nations - Italy beat them on the final day - but won the championship in 2014 and 2015.

Teams grow up. They develop. They nurse their disappointment and turn it into motivation. That's where Scotland are at now. The final day fireworks will be in Dublin on Saturday, but there's a game to be won and progress to be made at Murrayfield.

If Scotland win - and win well - then this season will be declared as their best in Six Nations history, even allowing for the unmerciful beating in Twickenham. Three wins and a six-point loss in Paris would represent a significant step forward.

"Hopefully we can go out on Saturday and do the whole of Scotland proud," says Reid. "It's not just the players who felt the disappointment after the England game. When you walk down the street and people are pulling you up and telling you they feel gutted it brings it home to you how much this matters.

"Everybody needs to see a reaction. Italy are no mugs at all. They put it up to England, they made life hard for France for a while.

"Everybody saw an England reaction after the Italy game. Everybody saw a Wales reaction after we beat them. Now it's our turn to react. You have to let Twickenham simmer away. You still think about it in the back of your head. You want to forget it, but you also want to keep it there.

"We can't let this season just be frittered away. We've beaten Ireland, we've beaten Wales, we've done OK in Paris on a very difficult day with injuries.

"We need to finish on a high or else we're at the wrong end of the table and that's no good. We know how big this is. Italy have nothing to lose and they have good memories of Murrayfield having won there two years ago. We owe it to the country to perform."