Six Nations: Duncan Weir happy he put Scotland over Celtic

Wales come to Murrayfield this weekend

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The Independent Online

Instead of preparing to be the new boy in the Scotland rugby union side – the new starter, at any rate – Duncan Weir might have been playing for "the Bhoys" against "the Old Lady of Turin". As a teenager, the Glasgow Warriors stand-off was a centre-half in the youth team at Celtic. He was signed on a schoolboy "S" form by Tommy Burns, the late, much-loved midfielder and manager with the Parkhead club.

Now, after three appearances off the bench as a replacement for the Scotland rugby union team, the 21-year-old has been chosen to make his first start for his country against Wales at Murrayfield on Saturday. Scott Johnson, Scotland's interim head coach, has given Weir a chance to stake a claim for the chief playmaker role, ahead of his Glasgow club-mate Ruaridh Jackson, who drops to the bench.

For the former Celt, who happens to be a lifelong Rangers fan, it is the culmination of a switch in sporting direction that began when Celtic ordered him to stop playing football for Cathkin High School in Cambuslang and, when not in youth team action for the Glasgow club, he turned out for the school rugby team instead.

"When I took the decision to leave the Celtic youth set-up it was probably the toughest thing I have had to do," Weir said. "Tommy Burns had signed me as a 14-year-old from Kilmarnock Boys Club and that will always be one of the best days of my life.

"I didn't have to think twice about signing for Celtic but after a year it was time to take the next step. We would have been going in with the full-time boys and there wasn't going to be much game time there. Plus, I had kept playing rugby for my school so I decided that it was time for me to go for rugby.

"It was tough but I was loving rugby more. Playing football helped my rugby career in a way. When you grow up in Glasgow, you get used to kicking a ball around and trying different tricks with it and, for me, the shape of the ball doesn't really matter.

"If you get comfortable with it and keep practising, it gives you the confidence to try things. When I moved from football to rugby I trusted my instincts and that approach seems to have worked. I still love football. When I watch football I still get the itch to play, but I can't really turn my back on rugby now. Although I would still love to play a game of five-a-side now and then, I'm fully focused on my rugby... Playing for Scotland has shown I made the right decision."