Scotland stunned the 6 Nations in lifting their first Calcutta Cup in a decade with their biggest win over the Auld Enemy England in 32 years in a pulsating and thrilling contest at BT Murrayfield.
It was a complete performance by the Scottish team, recovering most of the verve and cutting edge they had in the Autumn Tests during a remarkable first half, and then hanging on with some brave and determined defence in the old tradition in the second.
The tries all came in the first half with two from Huw Jones – the centre now has 10 in just 13 tests – and the other from Sean Maitland, but the play was superbly orchestrated by the mercurial Finn Russell, who after two poor games in this 6 Nations was named man of the match.
He was barely ahead of a bunch of his team-mates, notably Jones, Hamish Watson, Jonny Gray and skipper John Barclay, who was a titan in defence as the Scots held on to what they had in a torrid second half.
England were relentless as expected, but they only once pierced Scotland’s defence and they gave away simply far too many penalties to stay in with a chance of winning the game.
Scotland got the ideal start, Mako Vunipola caught holding on as he tried to exit his own 22 by Gilchrist, and Laidlaw landed the penalty.
Scotland’s pirating – through Watson this time – stalled England’s response but McInally was caught in similar fashion as they threatened with Russell starting to prompt well.
The next time the Scots tried to steal ball on the deck Watson was a fraction too late and penalised, Farrell levelling the scores on 13 minutes.
But the Scots responded with the opening try, having a penalty advantage at a lineout ball inside the England half and chancing their arm.
Referee Nigel Owens nearly got in the way but Russell’s clever grubber was nudged on by Jones’ left foot and it bounced perfectly for the centre to regather and score under the posts, Laidlaw converting.
Straight from the kick-off the Scots were too eager and offside at the exit and Farrell pegged them back with the penalty.
But the home side looked far more likely than the visitors to score and nearly did again when Jones kicked down the right touchline only for Ford and Watson to combine to clear up.
But the Scots did strike from their own half just after the half hour mark when Russell’s long looped pass sent Jones racing clear, only to be caught in the 22 by Brown.
However the Scots recycled quickly, McInally drove forward and another floated pass from Russell put Maitland in at the corner for an unconverted score.
England’s next promising attack ended with a silly takeout penalty from Brown on Watson, and then Barclay pirated more ball as England tried to get back into the game.
Instead with two minutes to go before half time the Scots struck again in spectacular style, Laidlaw’s flat pass sending Jones through Nathan Hughes’ poor tackle at full pace, and the centre thrillingly fought off both Brown and Watson to get to the line for the try.
Laidlaw converted and the Scots left the field at half-time to an ecstatic standing ovation from the Murrayfield crowd.
England weren’t about to go quietly though as a scuffle in the tunnel showed, and they came out with renewed vigour for the second half, Farrell blasting through for a try he converted himself after concerted pressure from the men in white.
Twice Scottish hearts were in mouths soon after as Care intercepted Laidlaw only to be called back for a penalty at the breakdown, and then Farrell seemed to have his second score before the TMO spotted Courtney Lawes had knocked on making a huge tackle in midfield.
But the Scots, while under pressure on their own ball, stayed strong and penalties kept coming their way, with replacement Sam Underhill shown a yellow card for a shoulder charge on Scottish sub Jamie Bhatti.
Russell took over kicking duties as Laidlaw had gone off, and made the simple penalty to take his side 12 points ahead.
England put on all their “finishers” and one relentless series of phases moved them from their own 22 to the shadow of the Scottish posts, but they were halted there by McInally’s steal to clinch a famous victory.
Scotland: S Hogg; T Seymour, H Jones, P Horne, S Maitland; F Russell, G Laidlaw; G Reid, S McInally, S Berghan; G Gilchrist, J Gray; J Barclay (capt), H Watson, R Wilson.
Replacements: S Lawson (unused), J Bhatti for Reid 56, WP Nel for Berghan 69, T Swinson for Gilchrist 56, D Denton for Wilson 69, A Price for Laidlaw 63, N Grigg for Horne 72, B Kinghorn for Seymour 65.
England: M Brown; A Watson, J Joseph, O Farrell, J May; G Ford, D Care; M Vunipola, D Hartley (capt), D Cole; J Launchbury, M Itoje; C Lawes, C Robshaw, N Hughes.
Replacements: J George for Hartley 55, J Marler for Vunipola 70, H Williams for Cole 65, G Kruis for Launchbury 72, S Underhill for Hughes 55, R Wigglesworth for Care 72, B Te’o for Brown 66, J Nowell for Ford 66.
Ref: N Owens (WRU)