Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt acknowledged that Scotland’s head start on the scoreboard was the boost the hosts needed to win at Murrayfield.
The 2015 champions trailed 21-8 at half-time in Edinburgh after tries from Stuart Hogg (two) and Alex Dunbar.
Ireland produced an excellent comeback in the second half to take a 22-21 lead, only for Scotland skipper Greig Laidlaw to land two late penalties to seal the win.
Schmidt admitted that the major frustration coming away from Murrayfield was that slow start, that leaves Ireland now one win behind Scotland and England in the competition.
The one solace for the visitors was that they move onto next week having taken a losing bonus point from Saturday’s defeat.
“It’s obviously far from ideal, the defeat is pretty tough to take,” Schmidt said.
“But it was always potentially a reality coming here. We knew these guys had improved, Vern Cotter has done a great job with them.
“We fed their self-belief which was dangerous to do.
“They were more encouraged because they felt they could open up and play against us and they did it well. The things we talked about, we then put into place in the second half and they didn’t score another try.
“That’s the major frustration, that you can try to prepare as best you can but it’s actually what you deliver that will determine a result.
“We have to take it on the chin and it looks like a very tough championship to win. But we know we’re not out of it, we did pick up that bonus point.
“We’ve got to go to Italy now and make sure we get five or six points from these first two games, and get some momentum for the back half of the championship.”