Paterson praise for 'gifted' Blair
Chris Paterson hailed Mike Blair as a Scotland great after the former national team captain retired from the international stage.
Blair called time on his career at the age of 31 after amassing 85 caps, a record for a Scotland scrum-half. The former Edinburgh skipper revealed his decision was based mainly on family reasons and a desire to see Scotland introduce new scrum-half talent before the 2015 World Cup.
And his former club and country team-mate Paterson paid tribute to his friend's 10-year contribution to Scotland, saying: "Mike was one of the most gifted and naturally skilful players I ever played alongside."
He added: "His ability to read a game and make the correct decision was brilliant. He was razor-sharp in attack and his defence, especially when chasing back and cover tackling, showed how tough a player he was.
"I think he was involved in every match-day Scotland squad, when available for selection, for a decade, which is a real reflection of how good a player Mike was - a great Scottish internationalist."
Blair, who left Edinburgh for Brive last summer, revealed he felt the time was right to step down ahead of the RBS 6 Nations under interim head coach Scott Johnson.
Blair said: "There's no doubt that moving our family to France has played a part in my decision.
"Our son Rory is now at school here and we have an 11-week-old daughter, Lucy, who was born in Brive.
"However, it's a combination of reasons that's led to my standing down from international rugby, not just one factor.
"For me, a place in the squad at the Rugby World Cup in 2015 is not a realistic personal target and, with that in mind, it's right for Scottish rugby and the Scotland team that other players gain experience in a pivotal position."