Eleven months after agreeing his move along the M8 Mark Bennett finally made his Edinburgh debut on Friday and duly collected the man-of-the-match award following their 47-7 defeat of South Africa’s Southern Kings.

Knee re-construction surgery, giving him a matching pair of joints having had similar work done in his teenage years when he made such an early impression that he was on the books at Clermont Ferrand, had brought about the delayed start to on-field life with his new club, but it was close to ideal when it happened.

“It was great to be back out there,” the international centre said afterwards.

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“It’s been a long time coming. It’s tough when you’re training with the boys every day but not actually getting a chance to be out there.

“It went well. We got the bonus point win in rubbish conditions. We ground it out, which was what we needed to do.”

Physically fit to play a couple of weeks ago, having completed the lengthy re-hab, he admitted that the club’s management team had probably done him a favour in postponing his return until Friday’s meeting with opponents who have yet to win a Pro14 match, rather than pitching him into the frenzy of facing his former Glasgow clubmates.

“Too right I was hoping to play in the derbies… I would have loved the chance, but it wasn’t to be,” said Bennett.

“Much as I hate to say it, it was probably a good thing. I got an extra couple of weeks of fitness, an extra couple of weeks of training. I felt sharp-ish on Friday, apart from dropping the ball a few times.”

Already identified by head coach Richard Cockerill as an individual who can help the Edinburgh shed their ‘polite public schoolboy’ image, the 24-year-old from Ayrshire is liking what is expected of him.

“It’s different for me here,” he said.

“At Glasgow, I was always the youngster in that backline whereas I’ve come through here and I’m not anymore. It’s a different experience and I’ve found it weird being one of the older boys. When I say older, I mean with the really young backline we’ve got. It gives me a chance to be a bit more of a leader, take a bit more control and that’s something I’m looking forward to.”

It was during last season’s Six Nations Championship, early in Scotland’s meeting with England at Twickenham, that Bennett suffered the injury that has sidelined him so long. Naturally, then, the timing of his return raises the possibility of involvement in this year’s tournament which is just four weeks away, but it is not yet a consideration for him.

“I just need to play, I’m not worried,” he said.

“If I’m playing well, everything else will take care of itself. First things first, I need to be playing here, keep my head down and keep working away.”