Scotland's Chris Paterson reckons his side can take heart from another mid-table finish to the RBS 6 Nations.
The Scots rounded off Ian McGeechan's last championship as coach with a 33-25 success over a talented and spirited Italy side to finish in fourth place with a 40% record for the second successive season.
After going down to emphatic defeats at the hands of the "big three", Scotland were concerned more with the manner than the margin of their victory and Paterson believes they can start the build-up to the World Cup with renewed optimism.
"We played loads of good stuff against England and we played reasonably well on Saturday under terrific pressure," he said.
"The main aim was to improve throughout the championship and I think we've done that.
"Winning internationals is tremendously difficult. Italy have scored tries against England and France - they're a strong outfit - and for us to get a victory is pleasing."
Especially pleasing for McGeechan was the variety of his side's attack and the continued improvement from marksman Paterson, who scored 18 points with a try and five goals.
The Edinburgh winger, who yesterday celebrated his 25th birthday, contributed 50 of Scotland's 81 points throughout the championship, a total bettered only by Jonny Wilkinson and David Humphreys.
After enjoying a 100% record against Wales and England, Paterson was missws two shots at goal on Saturday but came up with the crucial try - a neat chip and chase - and kept his nerve in a tense finale to put over a long-range penalty that sealed the win.