Scotland captain Mike Blair called on his charges to put their poor form behind them when they meet Italy in the RBS 6 Nations.
Both sides have lost their opening two games, and Saturday’s clash at Murrayfield is seen by many as a potential wooden-spoon decider.
“It’s certainly time to step up,” said Blair. “We’ve not performed to the best of our abilities in the first two games.
“This is an opportunity where we can hopefully do that.”
Blair, however, is wary of Italy following their improved performance against Ireland a week and a half ago.
“The Italians have got off to a relatively stodgy start to the tournament as well,” he said.
“They were much improved against Ireland and I think the way they defended put the Irish under a lot of pressure. And, certainly in the first half, they made the Irish looked like a very average team.
“Patience is going to be key in this game; it’s certainly not going to be a runaway victory. We’re going to have to stick at it for 60, 70, 80 minutes and hopefully tire them down and produce a result through that.”
He added: “Italy, against Ireland, gave away a lot of penalties. They’re a relatively ill-disciplined side, so the more you hold onto the ball and build the phases, the better.
“But with them being a blitz defence as well, there’ll be ways we’ll be looking at trying to combat that blitz defence, trying to prevent them from getting on the front foot.”