WEE COUNTY hero Grant Gilchrist says it’s an honour to have been called into Scotland’s squad for this year’s Six Nations.

The lock-forward could feature in the Scots’ opening fixture against Wales in Cardiff on Saturday, and he says the squad are confident that they can do something special this year.

But he admitted the first game is crucial and says it could make or break their tournament.

Gilchrist told Advertiser Sport: “It’s always a massive honour any time you are called up. It’s important to hit the ground running when you get into the camp and make sure you do all you can to get yourself selected for the games.

“The camp has been really good so far. It’s great to be back in with the boys.

“The general feeling coming out of the Autumn Tests was really positive and we want to harness that going forwards but at the same time, we know that doesn’t count for much when it comes to the Six Nations.

“We have to make sure we prepare well for this tournament and aren’t complacent. We still have to put in the hard work, but at the same time there is a really confident feeling around the squad.”

He added: “Wales will have watched how we played in the autumn and will set up to combat that so we will have to be even better, but we believe that if we play our best game we’ll win.

“That’s a great place to be because we are in control. There’s no reason why we can’t win, and we’ll go into it expecting to do that.

“The first game is always massive. If you can get the win the tournament opens right up for you.

“Winning the game will give us that extra bit of confidence coming back up the road for the first home game against France. But if you lose, you can already be out of it so that’s why we put so much emphasis on the opening game.”

Gilchrist could get his chance to start after Richie Gray was ruled out through injury, but he believes there will be fierce competition for a place in the side, with Jonny Gray and Ben Toolis also making the cut for Gregor Townsend’s squad.

He said: “There’s a lot of competition in second row between the three of us who are here, and Richie will only add to that when he comes back in.

“We know we have quality players and the guys who get the opportunities to play have to put their best foot forward and do well.”

The 27-year-old is one of a number of players with Clackmannanshire connections in or around the international set-up and praised the work of Alloa RFC, where he played as a schoolboy.

Gilchrist added: “I hope a good crowd can get through from Alloa for the France game. I’ve always been well-supported by the folks at the rugby club and I always appreciate that. Their support to me means a lot.

“It says a lot for Alloa that a small club with not a lot bodies coming through can produce so many professional players, and I know it’s something they are very proud of, as they should be.

“It’s the hard work of the people who are dedicated to the club that’s made that happen. Hopefully they can continue producing players who can compete at the top level.”