Frank Hadden admitted he always expected Scotland to make hard work of beating Italy following today's 26-6 RBS 6 Nations win at Murrayfield.
A sensational try from Simon Danielli - his first at Test level for five years - and a fine maiden international score for Scott Gray lit up an otherwise laboured display from the home side.
However, the result was ultimately all that mattered, with the consequences of a third successive RBS 6 Nations defeat to Italy dire for Scotland’s hopes of avoiding the wooden spoon, following losses to Wales and France in the opening two games.
Hadden said: “A roll always starts with one win and it was important to make sure that we got that win today.
“It’s always extremely difficult to play against Italy. Everybody finds it difficult to play against them, especially with their power up front and their rushing defence.
“What you tend to find against a rush defence is you can’t get the rhythm that you get - like we got in Paris - against a sliding defence.
“But we made more line breaks at the end of the day and we created more tryscoring opportunities so sometimes it can be a bit messy.
“But we stuck to our guns, we were very clear about what we needed to do to break down the rush defence.
“The try of Simon Danielli was an example of what we had worked on hard during the week, specifically for this type of defence.
“Our defence was always in control in my opinion, conceding only one line break, considering the amount of possession we had.
“And we were comfortable with that. We were happy to give them the ball and sniff around on the turnovers.
“Our second try actually came from that kind of situation although it was more a counter-attack than a turnover.”
He added: “A key area was the scrummage - it was a massive performance from us in there.
“Allan Jacobsen, Ross Ford and Euan Murray were excellent, especially against such tough opposition. They created the sort of platform that in some ways we probably could have done better with.”
Scotland were second-best up front for long periods and Hadden said: “I thought we were physical enough today, perhaps not quite as dynamic as we had been in the contact last week.”
Hadden revealed today’s win came at the cost of a “shed load of injuries”, with Jacobsen (shoulder), Max Evans (facial injury) Alastair Kellock (ankle) all doubtful for the penultimate game against Ireland in two weeks’ time.