Johnny Sexton convinced Ireland are heading in right direction

Captain Johnny Sexton insists Ireland are on the right path regardless of whether they end up as Guinness Six Nations champions.

Victory over Scotland this weekend will guarantee the Triple Crown, but Irish dreams of topping the final standings are also reliant on England avoiding defeat to Grand Slam-chasing France in Paris.

Andy Farrell’s men kept themselves in title contention going into the final round with a stuttering 32-15 success away to Eddie Jones’ 14-man side.

Three-time Six Nations winner Sexton wants to improve on Saturday’s Twickenham showing as Ireland attempt to underline recent progress with a memorable end to the tournament.

Ireland captain Johnny Sexton

“I remember talking to you guys (the media) 12 months ago or longer and things weren’t going great from a results point of view, but we were sticking in there and our confidence levels were the same as they are now,” said the 36-year-old

“We’re confident in what we’re doing and where we’re going.

“Will silverware make that any better or worse? It might validate it a little bit, but I still think we’re on the right path.

“We’re not really thinking like that. We’re thinking it’s a great opportunity for us and we need to keep building, keep improving every game we play.

“We showed some great things against England, but we hope we’re a lot better this week.”

Ireland kick off against the Scots in Dublin just over three hours earlier than England run out at Stade de France.

Irish hopes of a Grand Slam were wiped out by a narrow 30-24 round-two defeat in the French capital, but they have sufficiently recovered from that setback to remain in hot pursuit of Fabien Galthie’s men.

Ireland have not clinched a Triple Crown – awarded for Six Nations victories over England, Scotland and Wales – on home soil since 2004.

Sexton has urged his team-mates to focus on matters within their power.

“Once we lost that game to France, we set our targets on this (Triple Crown) and it’s the only thing within our control,” he said.

“If we can get a win then we’re guaranteed a Triple Crown, obviously that would be a good thing. And then we sit back and watch the end of it.

“We have to hold our end of the bargain up. We have to make sure we play really well. We have to perform on the big stage, which is where we’re at.

“We want to perform for all of the people that come and watch us, so all of our focus is on the performance.

“If we do get it right and we do get a win then we’ve got a chance to lift some silverware in front of all of those people.”

Scotland travel across the Irish Sea having not won in Dublin for 12 years.

Gregor Townsend’s side remain an inconsistent force but, given they have recently triumphed away to both France and England, Sexton is taking nothing for granted.

“We definitely won’t be underestimating them,” said the Leinster fly-half.

“They’ve had some big scalps away from home and they’re a team to be reckoned with.

“I know they’ve got no championship to play for, but that’s when they can be at their most dangerous because they’ve got nothing lose.

“They will want to finish as high up the table as possible, but, any time you play a game, whether it’s a November international or a summer international, a Six Nations game that doesn’t have something riding on, it’s very special.

“You’re still playing for your country, you’re still representing a lot and we’re preparing for their best performance and they’ve got some outstanding individuals.”