Scotland coach Frank Hadden admitted his side need to improve their basics after their 30-15 defeat to Wales.
Hadden has a fortnight to make significant improvements before facing Ireland
The Scots conceded three tries - including a controversial score from Shane Williams - and failed to create any significant try-scoring chances.
"Ball in hand we were just awful," Hadden told BBC Sport. "We were getting turned over too often.
"The first thing we need to do is improve our set-piece and then hold onto the ball, we are struggling."
Despite the consistency of Chris Paterson's kicking, Scotland were bereft of attacking threats as they succumbed to Wales' slick running game at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium.
And Hadden admitted his side have to make significant improvements in the fortnight before their trip to Croke Park to face Ireland on 23 February.
We had to force the game and we didn't do it well
"At the moment we are not getting started, (we have) no platform to launch attacking strategies," said Hadden.
"The players have to take responsibility and will have to front up against Ireland in Dublin.
"They are aware of what we are trying to do but it's not coming off."
Paterson's boot ensured Scotland were within a try of Wales in the second half, but the game changed when Williams touched down for his second try of the afternoon on 67 minutes.
The Ospreys winger clearly made contact with the touchline before touching down in the corner, but television match official Carlo Damasco ruled in favour of the home side.
"That was the critical moment of that match," said Hadden.
"We had been gutsy and defended well and made the most of our opportunities. But from that moment on (after Williams' try) we had to force the game and we didn't do it well."
However Hadden had a positive prognosis on captain Jason White, who was forced to withdraw with a knock just before half-time.
"He was struggling in the first half but he seems OK," he said.
Watch the match in full on BBC iPlayer for seven days from Saturday (UK users only)