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1872 Cup: Ross Thompson will continue to flourish, believes Chris Paterson

Ross Thompson was pitched into last year's 1872 Cup and had flourished since.

Scotland legend Chris Paterson and Glasgow coach Danny Wilson both believe the best is ahead for young stand-off Ross Thompson – now a regular and a star a year after being pitched in at the deep end.

Wilson admitted that it had been “a fair amount of risk and putting the tin-hat on” when they blooded Thompson in the 1872 Cup games against Edinburgh 12 months ago.

But both the coach and Scotland cap record holder Paterson – who has watched Thompson closely through the ranks – think it’s just the start.

Paterson, who helps coach both pro teams and Scotland in kicking technique, said he couldn’t be more impressed with Thompson.

‘Quarterback’ of the team

Thompson made his debut as a replacement in the first leg of last year’s 1872 Cup.

“He was in the system for a long time, but never had an opportunity for a year or two,” he said. “But then when his opportunity came he’s just done so well.

“What we see is his ability to perform under pressure and make the right decisions. It’s a crucial position because almost be the quarterback in terms of delivering the strategy and the structure that the coaches want.

“His goalkicking has been outstanding, his defence is brilliant, he’s really physical there which is excellent. He’s become an international player and delivered in that arena as well.”

There’s similarities, if not in outright style of play but certainly in development, with incumbent Scotland 10 Finn Russell, added Paterson.

“Everyone’s route to professional rugby is different,” he added. “Sometimes we see now that if you don’t follow a prescribed route that is seen to be the best way then eyebrows are raised.

‘Finn was similar’

“But Finn was similar. He was in and around the age-grade system, was someone who played 12, I think behind Harry Leonard who was the Under-20 10 at that point. So it was a completely different route for him into professional rugby.”

Paterson doesn’t see it as cut and dried that Adam Hastings is the first in line to cover for Russell, with both Blair Kinghorn and Thompson being candidates.

“I genuinely don’t think it will be as clear cut as that,” he said. “Finn is obviously No 1 at the moment, but I would see the others being pretty close.

“It also depends in terms of 6-2 or 5-3 splits on the bench, what you are looking for in terms of goal-kicking support, and the game-plan for each match.

“Ross is really intelligent, diligent, just a really good, sensible, old head (on young shoulders), who works really, really hard.

“It doesn’t appear that being capped for Scotland has changed his mind-set or his preparation – hopefully it just inspires him to do more.”

‘He wasn’t fazed by anything’

Wilson admits that Thompson’s blooding was a gamble that paid off.

“I’d like to say it was all crystal-ball stuff,” he said. “But at the time we had a couple of tough results with different 10s playing.

“Ross was still a young kid in the academy. We watched a little bit of him and his calmness was something we recognised in training. He wasn’t fazed by anything.

“So we threw him in right at the deep end for the derby. Credit to him, he grabbed his opportunity and he’s just springboarded from there.

“He’s now experienced La Rochelle and Exeter in Europe. He’s not looked at all out of place in the closest thing to Test-match rugby. He’s also been capped. It’s been a phenomenal 12 months.”

‘There’s a lot more to come’

But it won’t be the peak for Thompson, Wilson is sure.

“We hope and believe that there’s a lot more to come from Ross, I think there is. We have a few other younger boys that have now come through. How quickly did Rory Darge take off for us as well?

“There’s also a few other examples of our players who I think will flourish in the future as well. They have the same rough profile, but it might take a little bit longer.”

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