When, less than a month ago, Murray McCallum’s club coach questioned his readiness for Test rugby he was by no means undermining his player. The view proffered by Richard Cockerill was simply a reflection of a former international front-row forward’s understanding of what was being asked of a young player.

Yet, on Saturday, there the 21-year-old was entering one of the sport’s great arenas, a packed Principality Stadium, less than a year after signing his first full-time contract and having spent most of the match sitting alongside Scott Lawson, 15 years his senior.

McCallum’s selection for the Scotland squad to make that trip was, of course, the most graphic illustration of the issues that were confronting the team management as a result of the unavailability of three full sets of front-row forwards. However, Cockerill’s comments also came during a sequence of matches in which McCallum underwent a series of examinations that demonstrated versatility as well as an ability to thrive in good company.

That saw him replace Rory Sutherland at loosehead prop in the first of the festive derby matches against Glasgow Warriors, start in the number one jersey the following week, then switch to tighthead prop for the European Challenge Cup meetings with Stade Francais which saw Edinburgh secure their place in the quarter-finals.

That he took enough from that experience to believe in his own capacity to cope with another step up in level, meanwhile chimed with Wales coach Warren Gatland’s contention on Saturday, that his side had benefited from, for the first time in several years, being able to build around players who had qualified for the latter stages of the major European competition, the Champions Cup, in the shape of the Scarlets contingent that comprised two thirds of their starting line-up.

Those battles with Stade Francais which brought an Edinburgh win and a losing bonus point in Paris, surely made a difference for McCallum, who clearly indicated an appetite for more as the only member of the Scotland squad who had anything to celebrate at the weekend after making his international debut.

“It was disappointing day the way the result went. It wasn’t exactly how we wanted to start the championship, but I was delighted to get out there and start hopefully a long career of international performances.

"I relished the noise and the atmosphere, loved it,” he insisted.

“It’s what you’ve dreamt of since you were a little boy. It’s exactly how I’d imagined it, brilliant. Almost mindboggling looking around and seeing all that. It was an experience.”

The match was far from Scotland’s reach by the time McCallum took the field, but he was still determined to do the job he had been given principally to help lift the energy levels of players who had put in a tough and ultimately demoralising shift.

“You still want to go on and make a difference,” he said. “Go on, do your basics well, try to get the boys who had been on there for a while, try to up their energy and keep them going through to the final 80 minutes.You still have to do your job and do what you can as an individual, give it your all, finish the game as a positive. You just can’t stop.”

To that end he can take something from having been part of a team that showed pride in battling to the end to avoid being nilled, finally registering a score in the last minute of the game, when Peter Horne went over for a try. Having replaced Jon Welsh whose first appearance since his fateful involvement in the World Cup quarter-final defeat in 2015 was another of the more encouraging aspects of the day, McCallum felt he had started to prove he has what it takes in the tighthead prop forward’s essential task of providing a cornerstone for the scrum.

“That was my area that I really wanted to push on in, certainly on the international stage. I think it went well at the start and hopefully it’s a platform to build on,” was his assessment of his initiation.

So much so that he did not baulk at the prospect of starting an international match.

“Who knows, it’s a new game next week, back at home, a different animal at home hopefully,” said McCallum.

As to the collected psyche in seeking to rouse themselves in the week in between that mauling in Cardiff and returning to their Murrayfield home where only the world’s best side beat them last year, to face a French team that has a difficult task of its own to bounce back from a morale sapping win of a different kind when they were beaten by Jonny Sexton’s last gasp drop goal in Paris on Saturday, the youngster seems to understand what is required, saying: “We all lift each other, so I do what I can to uplift the guys who have been battling. We’ve just got to club together, see what changes are made. At the end of the day, we’re all one team and have the same goal."