Scotland fly-half Duncan Weir admits he found it “hard to watch” social media when left out of the national squad but is now relishing the chance to lead the side in the Autumn Nations Cup.
The Worcester player only returned to the squad earlier this year.
“I know Gregor [Townsend] knows how much it means to be involved,” he said.
“My wife would be the first to tell everyone that I was desperate to be there,” he said.
“Every time there was a squad announced, I’m as big a Scottish rugby fan as anyone, so I’d be watching my phone purring.
“It was hard to watch it on social media when everyone’s involved in camp – it’s great to be back here and be back involved.”
Weir has revived his career after a move from Edinburgh to Worcester in the English Premiership in 2018.
Having initially been unfancied by Townsend, his form earned him a recall to the national set-up for the 2020 Six Nations when Russell was omitted after a breach of team protocol.
Having been named as the first reserve for the victory over Wales, Weir says he has his “finger on the pulse” and expects a smooth transition if selected to face Italy on Saturday.
“I drove myself to get excellence in every aspect of my game and owned things a wee bit too much and tried to force the envelope and push the boundaries a bit too much,” said the 29-year-old.
“I’m still preparing the same, but when I’m on the field I’m a bit more relaxed and I’m trying to let my hair down a wee bit and express myself in my best light.
“I’ve let the reins down a wee bit over the last couple of seasons and I feel like I’ve played my best rugby on the back of that.”