Ross Ford hails Greig Laidlaw as one of Scotland's greatest ever captains
Ross Ford believes Greig Laidlaw can claim to be among Scotland's greatest ever captains - regardless of whether he leads his side to trophy success or not.
The Gloucester scrum-half will collect his 50th cap when he runs out for Sunday's RBS 6 Nations clash with France in Edinburgh.
The 30-year-old will also draw level with David Sole's record of 25 outings as Dark Blues skipper.
But unlike Sole or other lauded former leaders like Gavin Hastings - both part of the 1990 Grand Slam team - Laidlaw has yet to place a single piece of silverware in the Murrayfield trophy cabinet.
His reign as captain has produced just 10 wins and coincided with the nation's worst Championship run since 1955, with only last month's victory in Rome sparing the Scots a 10th straight defeat.
What cannot be questioned, though, is the regard with which his team-mates hold him and his game management.
And Ford firmly believes his ex-Edinburgh team-mate deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as figures like Sole and Hastings.
The hooker said: "Greig's achievement this weekend speaks volumes about him.
"That's the thing about Greig, he drives everything by his own standards. He demands a lot of himself. He doesn't need to say much but he's always asking for more from the boys and leads by example.
"He's coming more and more into the role and has developed it.
"He's a smart rugby player and is able to put his point across well to the group. One to one he's also good, so he's really grown into the responsibility of being captain.
"He's more confident speaking to the group now. He's very sure about himself. I wouldn't say he was nervous before but it's a funny thing coming into a new group of boys. Now he's been around them for a long time he has developed with that as you normally do.
"He's now an outstanding captain. He's a natural leader.
"His attributes are right up there with Scotland's greatest captains. Silverware is something Greig wants and it's something us as a group are working to give him."
Having finally ended their long wait for a Six Nations victory, the Scots are hoping to shoot down Les Bleus for the first time since 2006.
But Ford knows they will have to be ready to scrap with a French line-up that has muscles bursting through their famous shirts.
"This is a big opportunity," he said. "It is in our control but we need to make sure we are not complacent.
"Greig has made sure early on this week that while beating Italy was great, we still haven't achieved much in this tournament.
"All the focus is on France. We know what they bring and we need to make sure our performance levels are right up there again like they were against Italy. We will need that in spades if we are to get a result.
"France have got a very big pack. They are huge boys who run hard. But the size they are does allow them to throw the ball around.
"They've got the highest number of successful off-loads in the tournament. They are going to try to move the ball about so our defence needs to be switched on."