The visitors trailed 31-0 in the first half after England made a sensational start, yet Scotland could have won the tie after six tries without reply saw Sam Johnson’s score put them in front late on.
There was still time for England to belatedly rally and cross through George Ford to earn a draw, although Scotland retained the Calcutta Cup.
And visiting coach Townsend admitted afterwards that the second-half display from his side was beyond any expectations he had at the break.
“Do you want to talk about the first half or the second half?” Townsend joked to ITV Sport. “We showed a lot of character today. To respond the way we did in the second half, I was more than proud.
24 – Scotland trailed by 24 points at halftime, only twice before has a tier one team avoided defeat after trailing by as many at HT – New Zealand (v South Africa) and Australia (v Argentina) both coming back from the same margin on the same day in October 2018. Drama. pic.twitter.com/uf0udCjFYF
— OptaJonny (@OptaJonny) March 16, 2019
“We set a goal of winning the second half – not winning the game. We thought it was gone when you’re 31-7 down.
“But it’s amazing what can happen in a game of rugby. Momentum can swing and we can get confidence and take the game to the opposition like we did in the second half.
“Ultimately, we’re the team that’s really disappointed to have drawn the game.”
Outlining his half-time team talk, Townsend added: “We talked about winning the second half and coming out with respect. How we did that was to stick with the tactics.”
Tell us what you think about the Rugby World Cup and you could win £100