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."

Arts and Entertainment
filmPoldark production team claims innocence of viewers' ab frenzy
Life and Style
Google marks the 81st anniversary of the Loch Ness Monster's most famous photograph
techIt's the 81st anniversary of THAT iconic photograph
News
Katie Hopkins makes a living out of courting controversy
people
News
General Election
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders