How typically Scottish. Brave but beaten. Battered pride restored in rousing fashion.
McGeechan (left) and Telfer have been great servants of Scottish rugby
And sent homeward from another World Cup to think about yet another
They should be used to it by now. Scotland have a knack of doing exactly as
expected as these global extravaganzas - no more, no less.
They have never beaten anyone of higher stature at any of the five
tournaments. Nor have lost to anyone they were not supposed to.
Retiring coach Ian McGeechan has been involved in four of those campaigns,
absent only in 1995.
Jim Telfer, his long-time sidekick, is also finally heading for retirement
after returning for a fourth and final World Cup.
He thought it was all over in 1999, after another stirring quarter-final
showing against New Zealand, but was tempted back for one last shot.
Between them the pair have given Scotland sterling service, and some
memorable moments of triumph.
They deserved to bow out on a high note, even if their last hurrah had a
painfully predictable ring to it.
In the coaching box McGeechan applauded vigorously while Telfer turned to
some Scottish supporters and raised his fists in mock triumph
It was also an emotional night for at least two of the players, captain
Bryan Redpath and wing Kenny Logan.
Both were bidding farewell after their third World Cups, all of which ended
in the last eight.
For Logan, there was a certain symmetry to his final outing in the navy blue
His first Test, as a 20-year-old, also came against Australia in Brisbane,
He was in tears at the final whistle, as Scotland milked the generous
applause of an appreciative crowd at the Suncorp Stadium.
Logan and Redpath were given a guard of honour by team-mates as they
departed the scene of their final battle against adversity.
The pair were embraced by Gregor Townsend, Scotland's record cap holder who
may decide to join them as an ex-international before long.
Logan bade an emotional farewell to the international scene
The only surprise about the whole affair was that people were surprised at
the way the underdogs played.
They should have known that a Scottish side derided in all quarters for a
dismally underwhelming campaign hitherto would come out firing in their
The first half was riveting fare as they dominated the set-pieces, locks
Nathan Hines and Stuart Grimes and flanker Jason White the pick of an
outstanding forward effort.
Wallabies supporters seemed unsure whether to be worried or delighted at a
genuine contest. Strewth Bruce, these Jocks can play a bit after all.
But it couldn't last, and it didn't. As Australia coach Eddie Jones noted,
his side "put the game to bed pretty easily" after Stirling Mortlock's try
early in the second half.
At 33-9 with 15 minutes left, the Scots might have capitulated, but they
finished the stronger, finally breaching the Australian line in the game's
In the coaching box, McGeechan applauded vigorously, while Telfer turned to
some Scottish supporters and raised his fists in mock triumph, a smile
breaking out over his craggy features.
It was a deserved reward for the unstinting effort, and somehow a fitting
Another moral victory to add to the collection.