EDINBURGH, February 28- Ireland coach Declan Kidney believes the Six Nations win over Scotland at Murrayfield on Sunday proves that his team are on the right track in World Cup year.
The Irish scraped home in the end 21-18, but a try count of three to nil, he said, showed that they had they were heading in the right direction after a narrow win over Italy and a narrow loss to France.
"It’s encouraging when we are scoring tries – three in this game, three in the last game (against France), that is always positive," he said.
"We have been a bit stop and start by our own standards, but barring one or two decisions in the French game we could have been in a very positive place.
"But we are progessing as a side and building up experience. This is quite a young side.
We are quite a different unit to what we were two years ago with quite a lot of changes, but there is still a lot to do and we are not shouting about it."
On the question of the Irish penalty count which saw them concede 12 to Scotland’s four, Kidney said that although he felt some of the decisions were harsh, it was still a matter of concern.
"We are not overly happy. We probably scored 30 points, but the trouble is nine were for them," he said.
"We must look at the things we can control. We do contest the break down and make no apology for that."
"But we won the match. The way the things are in the country, why not celebrate that? Hopefully people will have a good night.
"It is a difficult place to come and win. We got three tries and we let a couple of others slip away.
"We will have a look at the break down and penalty count."
Irish skipper Brian O’Driscoll, meanwhile paid tribute to man of the match Ronan O’Gara who celebrated his recall to the starting lineup at the age of 33 with a try and three conversions.
The Munster fly-half was also imperious with his kicking game serving up a solid tactical lesson to his youthful Scottish counterpart Ruaridh Jackson.
"He steered us around the pitch extremely well, he kicked very well when needed be and scored a crucial try himself so he did a very good performance and excusee me for saying I’m not shocked, but he pulled out another good performance in a green jersey. It’s what you expect from him at this level.
"If we can stop those silly penalties and maybe get a fair call or two I don’t think we will be in a bad place."
Ireland next take on Wales in Cardiff before closing against England in Dublin in what could be a tournament decider.