Ireland enter the RBS 6 Nations brimming with confidence after a first win over New Zealand in November, and seeing off Australia, South Africa and New Zealand in a calendar year.
Skipper Rory Best admitted the team were in good spirits after November but won’t underestimate the challenge of starting away to Scotland in Edinburgh.
The meet the Scots on February 4 at Murrayfield.
He said: “The big thing for us that we keep moving forward and build on what we did in November with a couple of good results and a couple of good performances.
“We know that’s in the past and we’ve seen what the Scottish boys have done in November and in Europe so for us it’s going to be a massive challenge to go to BT Murrayfield, it’s a very tough place to go. We’re trying to keep moving forwards and keep improving.”
Scotland are preparing for their final Championship with Vern Cotter in charge.
Their record in the opening games of the Championship has been an issue, but skipper Greig Laidlaw is optimistic that a strong November showing, as well as impressive displays at club level puts them in good stead ahead of the opening match against Ireland.
“We’ve not (got off to good starts) in the past and it’s something we need to change if we are going to progress well in the tournament.
“In November we played really well against Australia but came up just short. Then we probably didn’t play as well against Argentina but we got the win so that’s where we can try to take this team.
“When we’re not quite 100 percent we can still win games. We have developed players and strength in depth in the squad. Vern has done that over the last three years and we’re starting to reap the benefits of that.
“We’re excited about going into the Championship, the manner in which Glasgow qualified for the Champions Cup was brilliant.
“Their players who have come in have brought a lot of confidence into the squad and we’re trying to spread that confidence.
“We’d like to see Vern off with a great championship because he’s given this team a lot of confidence.”