It was a summer of love for Johnny Matthews in his professional and private life as he experienced a whirlwind few months. 

Matthews tied the knot in July and enjoyed his honeymoon before a memorable phone call arrived while in East Neuk. The phone reception in Elie was unreliable as Matthews walked his dog but the message was heard loud and clear from Scotland forward coach John Dalziel. 

The uncapped Matthews received his first international call-up due to Scotland’s wretched injury issues at hooker with Dave Cherry, Fraser Brown and Stuart McInally all sustaining problems in France. Within 12 hours, Matthews linked up with Gregor Townsend’s squad and he became Scotland’s first World Cup debutant since Josh Stauss in 2015 when he was introduced against Romania. 

It was already a dream summer for the 30-year-old and the icing on the cake arrived 13 minutes into his debut when he surged over the line to score.

“Yeah, I was kind of here, there and everywhere this summer,” Matthews recalls. “I was in here for two weeks, out there for two weeks, back in here - I’m loving being back. I didn’t have much time to think about going to the World Cup as it was less than 12 hours from the phone call to me landing in Nice. It was a whirlwind but one that I absolutely loved.

”Sometimes [I had to pinch myself], to be fair. There was no real build-up for me - it was kind of ‘You’re needed, you’re out, and you’re playing in six days. It was one of the best experiences of my life and building up from a fantastic summer it kind of really capped it off for me, no pun intended.”

The World Cup ended in disappointment for Scotland as they failed to navigate through the group of death after defeats to Ireland and South Africa. Townsend’s squad was littered with Glasgow stars and Matthews earned the acclaim of his teammates on his return to Scotstoun, which has left him eyeing a Six Nations place.

“Yeah,” Matthews replied when asked if he received a nice reception on his return. Like I said I wasn’t really kind for that long, but I got loads of really nice messages from all the lads. 

"When I came back in everyone was made up for me - as we were for Staff [Stafford McDowall] when he got his first cap against Italy. We’re just happy for boys to see them get to a stage where, you know, Staff has worked really hard to get to that point and deserved it for some time.

READ MORE: Glasgow Warriors face selection dilemma ahead of Connacht clash 

"If I stay in the Glasgow squad and play well here, then I’ve got every chance of getting in [the Six Nations squad]. But I take each game at a time and we’ve got a massive one this weekend against Connacht to try and back up the victory at home to Leinster.

“So I think it’s one game at a time. We’ve got ten massive games before the end of the year, the first one has just gone, so we take each one of them as they come.”

Seven members of Glasgow’s Scotland contingent started in their opening win against Leinster in the URC. Every international recommenced training on Tuesday and Matthews attests to that determination to return to the team spirit within the Warriors changing room. 

“I think it’s just a great environment,” Matthews added. “Everyone loves each other’s company, we’re really close as a squad, as a staff everyone gets on really well - I think it’s just a good place to be. It’s pretty easy to come to work and enjoy it when everyone gets on and you just hang around with all your mates all day. I think it’s just good to be here.” 

It was a special return to club rugby for Scotland’s contingent as Glasgow kickstarted the season with a record-breaking seven tries against Leinster. The Irish giants are one of the favourites to win the URC this season, but Glasgow demonstrated their credentials as their defensive resilience matched their attacking excellence. 

Matthews is developing quite a reputation for his try-scoring ability. The hooker made history last season when he became the first Glasgow player to score five tries in one game as he recorded that remarkable feat against the Dragons

Matthews scored again off the bench against Leinster and George Horne matched that achievement on his 100th appearance to cap a memorable evening.

“I was just buzzing that George scored, to be honest,” Matthews confessed. “I was just made up for him, as you could probably see when I sprinted about 60 yards to try and give him a big hug. I was delighted for him, and for us as a squad, to get the win on his 100th. And for him to score after less than two minutes was probably the perfect way the day could go

“The one for Scotland I was just following George Horne. If he makes a break, just try and stick with him, is what I’ve learned in my time at Glasgow. The one on Sunday I just threw a dummy and I couldn’t believe the lad fell for it, to be fair. I was laughing as I scored. I was gutted at the penalty try, obviously, because that would have been another one for me.”