AL Kellock has spent the past week-or-so consumed by excitement, nerves and passion.

There is something about a Scotland v England game that stirs a feeling in him that few other occasions manage.

It’s been two-and-a-half years since the former lock hung up his rugby boots and since then, he admits, he rarely experiences quite the intensity of feeling in the lead-up to games that he enjoyed – or endured – as a player.

But a Scotland v England game is like no other and the visit of England to BT Murrayfield this afternoon has taken Kellock back to how he felt as a player, despite the fact that he will be watching the game from the stands rather than being right in the mix as he was for so many years.

“When you’ve played a sport for so long and then you step away from it, there’s a little bit that you leave a behind,” the 36-year-old, who is now the Business Development Manager and an Ambassador at Scottish Rugby, said.

“I still love the game but it’s different when you’re no longer a player. With a game like this though, I feel the same passion I always had – I can feel the excitement when I’m talking about it and it’s just a brilliant occasion to be involved in.

“I don’t miss the 80 minutes but I do miss the feeling you get in the build-up. The feeling of genuine excitement you get when you know that a huge game is approaching. But the beauty for me now is that I’m able to enjoy it these days – I can watch it with a smile on my face and I’m excited to see what happens out on the pitch.”

As a stalwart of the Scottish national team for almost a decade, Kellock played in his fair share of Scotland – England duels and was part of the team which defeated England in two Calcutta Cup matches, both at Murrayfield, in 2006 and in 2008.

“I’ve played in quite a few Scotland – England games over the years and one of my first starts for Scotland was against England, when we played them in 2006,” he told Herald Sport, at the launch of the SP Energy Networks Warriors Championship. “We beat them that day and it was huge.”

But one of the most devastating losses of his career also came at the hands of England, when the Scots were narrowly defeated by the Auld Enemy in the 2011 Rugby World Cup. A late try by England’s Chris Ashton snatched victory from the jaws of defeat and Kellock admits that he can still remember the match like it was yesterday.

“One of the best games I’ve ever been involved in was when played them at the World Cup in 2011,” he said.

“We ultimately lost and it was one of the lowest days I’ve ever had in sport but then with a bit of distance and a bit of hindsight, you realise what an incredible occasion you were involved in. There’s moments in that game I wish I could have again – those are the ones I wake up in the middle of the night thinking about, but you can’t turn back the clock.”

It would be quite an understatement to suggest that Scotland’s Six Nations to date has been somewhat up and down. A hugely successful autumn test series meant that expectations were high but a disappointing opening-day defeat against Wales brought everyone back down to earth with a bump.

But the Scots rebounded in admirable fashion, defeating France comfortably two weeks ago and what pleased Kellock most was the instant reaction to that Wales defeat. “The best thing that’s happened for Scotland so far in this Six Nations is the lessons we learned from the Wales game,” he said.

“Against Wales, we didn’t get the fine margins right and that can make a huge difference. But the best thing was that we had the opportunity to fix it pretty quickly and so the guys went out there against France and rectified that.

“Ten minutes in against France we were ten points down and that’s when the players can start to panic but they didn’t, they took back control of the game.”

Scotland go into today’s game as considerable underdogs. England are the second-ranked team in the world and have lost only one match in their last 27. They have also not lost to Scotland for a decade and while Kellock is under no illusions as to how tough a task today is going to be for the Scotland team, he is not overly-pessimistic either. “Everything is heightened in Scotland – England games so you have make sure that when you’re in camp, you don’t get carried away by that. But you also have to feed off it and use it,” he said.

“Expectations after the Autumn Tests were sky-high. Then we got beaten by Wales and we’re judged to be right at the bottom. In reality, we’re in the middle of those two points.

“If Scotland play well enough then we should fear nobody in these championships. But every one of the other teams will be saying the same.

“The balance of our team is terrific and then I look at the England team and I think wow, they have some incredible players. They played brilliantly to win the Grand Slam two years ago and the Championship last year and they’ll be looking to repeat that but they won’t like coming to BT Murrayfield, there’s no doubt about that.

“What I am convinced of is that we’ll get a brilliant game of rugby.”

England have some superstars of world rugby in their line-up though and one thing the Scots must not do is get distracted by who they are up against. Kellock knows what it takes to put in a top-notch performance on the biggest stage and is well aware that focusing on the opposition is a recipe for disaster.

“For Scotland to do well, they need to concentrate on themselves,” he said.

“One of the issues whenever you play in these big games is that you focus too much on the opposition. So the boys need to just go out there and play their rugby. Every game of rugby, you need a strong foundation – you need the pack to be playing well. The English pack is big and it’s powerful and it’s dominant so the Scottish pack needs to match that and then better it at times.

“If we’re going to do well, it needs to be a huge effort up front and then we’ll take it from there. But I’m genuinely excited about what’s going to happen.”