Greig Laidlaw kicked four second-half penalties as Scotland ground out a 12-8 victory over Ireland on Sunday to earn back-to-back victories in the Six Nations for the first time in 12 years.

The Scots can even dream of challenging for the title after recovering from an 8-0 deficit early in the second half, with Ireland failing to make the most of 74 percent possession.

"We're still in the tournament - we are in it up to our ears, and that's great for the fans and the team,'' interim Scotland coach Scott Johnson said. 

"But let's not get carried away."

Paddy Jackson, contentiously chosen at flyhalf ahead of Ronan O'Gara, booted the only points of the first half with a 35th-minute penalty for Ireland before Craig Gilroy added a close-range try in the 43rd.

"We're still in the tournament - we are in it up to our ears, and that's great for the fans and the team"

Interim Scotland coach, Scott Johnson

However, Laidlaw replied with four successive penalties and Scotland held firm on its own try line in a breathless final few minutes to join Wales on four points, two behind Grand Slam-chasing England.

Scotland takes on Wales on March 9 back at Murrayfield in a match that will determine which team challenges for the title on the final weekend. It caps a remarkable reversal in fortunes for the Scots, who were in the doldrums after a chastening run of defeats in the autumn internationals that included a humiliating home loss to Tonga.

As for the Irish, it was a first tournament loss in Edinburgh since 2001, wrecking a title bid that had started so well by beating Wales away. Two weeks ago, they lost 12-6 to England.

"It's all about taking your opportunities," said Ireland coach Declan Kidney, who was without a number of key players because of a mixture of injury and suspension.

"We created several try-scoring opportunities, but we didn't convert them to take us in front of Scotland's penalty count."

Kidney was already under pressure before this match and the scrutiny on him will be huge in the build-up to the home match against France on March 9.

"There will always be questions asked, but it is about getting ready for the next game whether you win, lose or draw," he said.

"We created opportunities, but I will take a good look at myself this week, as will the rest of the guys around me."

Source: AP