FINLAY MacRae believes Scotland have to put their biggest win in eight years behind them and focus on raising the standards even higher this weekend against Ireland’s Hurlers.
The 30-year- old Kinlochshiel player has tasted both a win and a defeat at Croke Park previously and would love to add another victory to his list of career momentos.
However, Ireland have a tradition of bouncing back in these fixtures, particularly on home soil.
Jeffrey Lynskey has galvanised his Hurling squad with six changes to the side that lost 24-14 in Inverness last month.
And MacRae reckons the Scots have to consider this second test as a match against a different opponent and home in on the qualities that make Scotland a proposition.
‘Ireland always seem to come back in the second game and I am not sure why, but I still think we can do it,’ said the dark blue stalwart, who has been playing representative shinty for 13 years.
‘Ireland have brought in some players for this game and that will obviously help them but, for me, it is about how we react.
‘ We were convincing in the first game but we have to forget about that because it is over and done with. They’ve beaten us for a few years now over there and we want to prove we can win both games and bring the pride back.’
National Coach Ronald Ross MBE had the players together for the final time at an all-weather park in Coatbridge on Sunday following a fitness session with coach, Neil Bowman.
Acquaint The Scots fly out to the cavernous Croke Park in Dublin on Friday and will get a chance to acquaint themselves with their impressive and formidable surroundings.
MacRae starred in the one point defeat of the Irish at the same venue in 2010 and recalls the feeling of winning at the home of hurling in front of a sizeable green and white crowd.
He would like nothing more than to savour a repeat but knows, with players such as Hurler of the Year, TJ Reid of Kilkenny, draft- ed in, the task will be significant.
‘Croke Park is the biggest stage I have ever played on, and ever will, but it is also the same for the hurlers. When we won there in 2010, there were so many people there, the match was so tight and we were ecstatic at getting the win.
‘Ireland will not want to lose at Croke Park, at home and in front of the family, so we need to make sure we are ready for it.’
Ross has been in negotiation with the Irish regarding rules for the second test, with players not allowed to create a raised turf with their boot for ground hits.
A vast sum of money has been invested by the GAA in the Croke Park surface so officials have agreed to allow the Scots to use golf tees instead of their heels to create a platform for hitting.
The match throws in at 4.35pm and will act as the curtain raiser ahead of the International Rules clash between Ireland and Australia, which is likely to attract a capacity 80,000 crowd.