The important factor for Scotland's opening RBS 6 Nations match is undoubtedly that they are playing Ireland at home.
The Irish do not have an illustrious record at Murrayfield, where they have not won since 1985, and that bodes well in terms of Scotland's chances.
However, when you consider how well the Irish provinces have done in the Celtic League and the Heineken Cup this season, they may not be so intimidated about travelling to Edinburgh as perhaps they have been in the past.
They will be missing Keith Wood at hooker but Shane Byrne performed extremely well during the recent win over Australia and they will not be panicking in that respect. Keith Wood is a significant loss to any team but he should not be considered the be all and end all, and hooker is a position of strength for Ireland.
I feel Scotland's tactics will depend heavily on who Ian McGeechan plays at fly-half. I would like to see them play a similar game to that which outclassed South Africa in the autumn internationals - the Scots played the game 70 yards from their own touchline and forced the Springboks into mistakes by asserting pressure with an 'in-your-face' type of performance. Gordon Ross really dictated that match and I think that will be needed again against Ireland.
The match is also extremely important because Scotland go to Paris next and the effect of momentum cannot be underestimated. If Scotland do not play well then the French game will be desperately tough. If they do play well, and France lose to England at Twickenham this weekend, then they have more of a chance.