VERN COTTER is set to bow out as the most successful Scotland head coach since the legendary Sir Ian McGeechan nearly 30 years ago.
The New Zealander will steer the nation to the 19th victory of his tenure if they can finish off a promising Six Nations with a win over Italy at BT Murrayfield on Saturday afternoon.
The Scots have already climbed to their highest-ever world ranking, after going fifth with the triumph against Wales three weeks ago, and Cotter will hand over the reins to Gregor Townsend this summer with pride restored.
Should Scotland prevail against the Italians, it will give Cotter 19 victories from 36 Tests, a win rate of almost 53 per cent.
Even defeat in his final match would leave him with a 50 per cent win rate, eclipsing predecessors Scott Johnson, Andy Robinson, Frank Hadden and Matt Williams, and even McGeechan and Jim Telfer in their second spells in charge.
Should Scotland defeat Italy, the only coach who will have enjoyed a better success rate in the modern era is McGeechan, who won 58 per cent of his games between 1988 and 1993 – a spell that included the 1990 Grand Slam and a World Cup semi-final in 1991.
Cotter began his reign with three wins over the United States, Canada and Argentina in the summer of 2014 and has a 100 per cent record against that trio, as well as Georgia, Japan, Samoa and Tonga.
However, he will rue being unable to take any major scalps in his time at the helm, with no successes against England, New Zealand, Australia or South Africa, and just solitary wins against Wales, Ireland and France.