SCOTLAND coach Gregor Townsend was full of praise for his team, believing they produced “outstanding rugby” despite another heavy away defeat in the Six Nations which ended what were always faint hopes of winning the championship.

The scoreboard at the end read 28-8 to the Irish on a day in which the Scots created four good try-scoring opportunities when the game was still within their grasp but took only one of them.

This was the Scotland of a few years ago in that bad passes and simple mistakes cost them dearly, only this time it was Stuart Hogg, Huw Jones and Peter Horne, all top-class players, who were the guilty men.

Scotland have won just six games on the road since Italy came into the tournament, four times in Rome, and in Dublin 2010 and Cardiff 2002, and with visits to Twickenham and Paris next year that long-awaited big away win will not come easy.

“Our basic skills were pretty good in a number of areas, our tackling was outstanding and our contact work when we had the ball was outstanding,” Townsend said. “We created those opportunities and it was basic passing skills which caused a couple of missed opportunities.

“Sometimes that’s about what the defender does. I thought Rob Kearney did very well when Stuart Hogg was about to pass as he stepped back. But Stuart finishes them off in every training session, we all make errors.

“We certainly played some outstanding rugby at times, we caused a very good side problems through the set-piece and defence and by what we did in attack. It’s disappointing we are not sitting here with one, two or even three more tries on the scoreboard. it would have made for a very interesting game going into the last 10 minutes.”

Asked if there was anger in the dressing room, given how many times a good opportunity came to nothing, Townsend said: “No, we are very proud of how the team played. There is a realisation that we have more work to do. I’m frustrated that it didn’t lead to either a closer game or even a victory.

“The first job is to cause the opposition problems when they usually dictate their possession and we did that. We knew every ruck would be tough for them and it was. We turned Ireland over a number of times and in the scrum we got stronger and stronger.

“Our line-out was very good so that was pleasing. Creating opportunities is the first part and finishing them off is the second part - when you have the ball.

“We did create a number of opportunities and the more you are in those positions, the more it becomes second nature for our players to score.”

For all Townsend’s positivity, it was another defeat on the road, even if the coach felt it was a better loss than the one suffered against Wales on the opening weekend.

“That was night and day compared to Cardiff,” he said. “It was a team performance right from the start. It was committed, focused and we took the game to the opposition right to the end.

“It was a shame Tim Swinson didn’t get a try at the end when he was stretching over. The players stuck to their task and kept going at Ireland and that was great to see."

Scotland captain John Barclay was gutted after yet another incredible shift from the flanker.

“I don’t want to say it because I think you get what you deserve in rugby but the scoreline didn’t maybe show the competition in the game,” he said. “I felt that they had perhaps three chances and the intercept, and they took all of them. We probably had four chances, clean two-on-one chances, and took one of them. We didn’t capitalise today, we didn’t convert our chances and for me that’s the difference today.

“They’re a very good team, a fantastic side, and we know when you get chances you have to take them, especially away from home, especially against a defence as good as theirs. We created those chances, put ourselves in those positions to take them and today the passes didn’t quite go to hand.

“It’s frustrating on the one hand but also encouraging that we created those opportunities.”