THE result was not what Adam Hastings would have hoped for on his return from injury, but his own performance was reassuringly solid. The 24-year-old played more than an hour on Friday night as Glasgow lost 13-19 at home to Ulster, and although he did not have as much front-foot ball as he would have liked, the main thing was that, after four months out recovering from shoulder surgery, he played both confidently and creatively.

The question now is whether Gregor Townsend believes the stand-off has done enough in that single outing to merit inclusion in his Scotland squad to face France in next Sunday’s Six Nations match, or whether he will persist with Jaco van der Walt as his back-up for Finn Russell. General fitness should not be a major concern, especially after another week of training, but match sharpness at Test level is another matter. Hastings himself is fully prepared for the advice that he should play another few games for Glasgow before an international recall, and insisted he had not dwelled on any potential recall.

“I’ve not really thought about it, to be honest,” he said after the game at Scotstoun. “I was very focused on this week in training, on doing my best for the team. 

“I’m kind of looking at the Leinster game [also next Sunday] at the moment and being involved in that. But if I’m pulled into camp, I’ll go from there.”

It did not take Hastings long to look like his old self on Friday night, although he explained that, after such a long spell on the sidelines, he had not been entirely sure of how easily he would slip back into the thick of things. “The nerves were maybe a bit more than they have been in the past after such a long time out.

“And then just almost testing the shoulder - you know you’ve done all your contact and all these tests, but I feel personally you don’t really fully 100 per cent know. You might know 99 per cent, but you don’t 100 per cent know until you’ve hit a few people in awkward positions just to make sure that shoulder was sound.

“I felt sharp with my handling and my kicking. It was just about getting that game feel back. There were purple patches in that first half, but I was frustrated not to get my hands on the ball in the second half a little bit more.” 

No matter whether Townsend recalls Hastings for the game at the Stade de France, the head coach has already shown how much he values the player’s contribution by inviting him to train with the national squad before the games against England and Wales earlier this month. In the build-up to the Calcutta Cup clash the stand-off took part in some aspects of training for a couple of days but did not travel to London, whereas in the Wales week he was involved all the way through to the pre-match warm-up. 

From a Scotland point of view, that involvement has helped ensure that when Hastings does return, he will already be up to speed with the thinking within the squad. From a personal point of view, his appetite for a return to the Test arena has been whetted by being a part of the preparations for those first two Championship fixtures.

“I’ve been in camp two out of the past three weeks with the boys, just kind of helping them prepare for games. That was really good. He brought me in and changed up my rehab a little bit. I think I’d had 12 weeks on the bounce at Glasgow doing rehab, so he brought me in and it was refreshing and nice to be back in with the squad.

“Specially even more after they beat England in that first game, I wanted to get back as quickly as possible, and if there was any chance I could play a part in the Six Nations, I was going to make sure that I got myself fit. I’ve done that, and I think it’s now about putting in performances for club first and foremost. 

“If I get picked, I get picked. If I don’t, I don’t, and I’ll be fully focused on the next game.”