Six Nations: Geoff Cross replaces Euan Murray for Scotland's clash against Ireland

Sides meet at Murrayfield on Sunday

Scotland interim head coach Scott Johnson insists his side will not underestimate an inexperienced Irish side at Murrayfield on Sunday.

Ireland boss Declan Kidney has been forced to make five changes to his injury-hit line-up that will start against the Scots this weekend.

But he has surprised many by picking Ulster fly-half Paddy Jackson for his first cap instead of opting for the out-of-form - yet highly experienced - Ronan O'Gara.

Ulster centre Luke Marshall will also make his first Ireland appearance as Kidney adjusts his squad following injuries to centre Gordon D'Arcy, wing Simon Zebo, fly-half Jonny Sexton and lock Mike McCarthy, while prop Cian Healy is banned for stamping on England's Dan Cole in their last Six Nations match.

Johnson, on the other hand, makes just one alteration to the starting XV that beat Italy 34-10, replacing tighthead prop Euan Murray - who refuses to play on Sundays on religious grounds - with Geoff Cross.

And the Scotland coach believes the players coming into the Ireland side will be of a similar level to those they replace.

Johnson told Press Association Sport: "We know the players coming in. Their form regionally has been superb and these kids are good players.

"Sometimes what happens is that (people) expect the 'known names' to be a massive, massive loss. But what (people) probably don't know is the 'no names' and how good they are.

"Us coaches see them every week and know that these so-called lesser-known names are quality players. This is a genuine Test match, a quality Test match against a formidable opposition who will come here buoyed by years of achievement here.

"We understand what we are up against - we are not deluding ourselves - and we understand that what was good enough against Italy won't be good enough against Ireland."

Ireland’s last defeat in Edinburgh was back in 2001 and they have since racked up five successive victories on Scottish soil.

But the victory against Italy has raised confidence - if not expectations - in the Scottish camp.

Johnson feels his side can continue to improve following last year's Wooden Spoon campaign under predecessor Andy Robinson, but he will not be taking anything for granted.

He said: "Continuity of selection is important up to a point. We had a good look at the team after the Italy game because we're not just going to take the win. It shouldn't take a loss for us to make changes.

"We really did take a good look at the whole personnel and there was enough there to say we had made a bit of progression and we will take it again.

"It was a win and we did some good things. But it's not the end result. We have got the ability and potential in this side to hurt some teams but we have got to do it consistently. It was one win but let's not get carried away with it."

Scotland have only beaten Ireland twice in the 13 years since the championship was expanded to six teams and that is not a record to be proud of.

Johnson, though, does not expect a determination to overturn that historic slump to be the main motivating factor spurring his men on.

He said: "Motivation to me is showing improvement within yourself. Even with me on the treadmill, if I can see I am running faster than I was the day before, I get back on it.

"So that encourages people. All the other stuff is secondary. The reality is we can only keep testing ourselves and wanting to get better. If we take that attitude, time will give us a pretty good team."

The one change Johnson has made was forced upon him by Worcester forward Murray's strict Christian faith.

The coach has no issue with Murray's decision, and acknowledges Cross could well benefit from his choice to observe the day of rest.

He said: "I can understand what Euan is saying and it's his decision. We move on and make ours. We get on with it.

"It's not a complicated situation. It's black and white for me.

"As for Geoff, well he's got to scrum - that's what he has been picked for. He's been picked because we deem him strong and that he has shown that when he has played international rugby, he can hold up a scrum.

"It's important that he does that role. He's been brought back and we trust him to do so. If he does his part well we will be happy and evaluate it from there."

Alexis Sanchez has completed a £35m move to Arsenal, the club have confirmed
sportGunners complete £35m signing of Barcelona forward
Life and Style
A binge is classed as four or more alcoholic drinks for women and five or more for men, consumed over a roughly two-hour period
Detail of the dress made entirely of loom bands
Life and Style
More than half of young adults have engaged in 'unwanted but consensual sexting with a committed partner,' according to research
techResearchers recover 100s of nude photos from second-hand smartphones
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Ray Whelan was arrested earlier this week
Arts and Entertainment
In a minor key: Keira Knightley in the lightweight 'Begin Again'
Arts and Entertainment
Celebrated children’s author Allan Ahlberg, best known for Each Peach Pear Plum
peopleIndian actress known as the 'Grand Old Lady of Bollywood' was 102
Wayne’s estate faces a claim for alleged copyright breaches
peopleJohn Wayne's heirs duke it out with university over use of the late film star's nickname
Caption competition
Caption competition
Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice