Laidlaw among several returning stars in Scotland Six Nations squad
Former skipper Greig Laidlaw and Stuart Hogg have been named in a 40-man Scotland squad for the Six Nations as they prepare to make their respective comebacks from injury.
Clermont Auvergne scrum-half Laidlaw has not played a Test since last year's championship, after suffering torn ankle ligaments in the clash with France and then a broken leg on club duty in October.
However, the 32-year-old is set to return to action in the near future and will challenge Ali Price for a starting role, with Henry Pyrgos and Nathan Fowles the other options at number nine in a squad that will be skippered by John Barclay.
Hogg is expected to play his first game since November this weekend after recovering from a hip problem. A star of recent Six Nations campaigns, the Glasgow Warriors full-back is a guaranteed starter providing he is able to prove his match fitness ahead of Scotland's tournament opener against Wales on February.
In addition to Laidlaw, several other experienced players return, with David Denton, Mark Bennett, Richie Gray and Duncan Taylor all included.
There is also a shock recall for 36-year-old Newcastle Falcons hooker Scott Lawson, who could make his first Test appearance since 2014, while Jon Welsh - last capped in 2015 - is also back in favour.
Fowles is one of four uncapped players called up by head coach Gregor Townsend, together with Edinburgh team-mates Blair Kinghorn and Murray McCallum, and Glasgow prop D'Arcy Rae.
"It's a bigger squad than we originally planned - which is largely down to the competition for places, with a number of players having performed well in the Autumn Tests and a few others putting their hands up for selection in recent weeks," said Townsend.
Scotland Six Nations squad:
Forwards: John Barclay (captain), Simon Berghan, Jamie Bhatti, Magnus Bradbury, David Denton, Cornell du Preez, Grant Gilchrist, Jonny Gray, Richie Gray, Luke Hamilton, Rob Harley, Scott Lawson, Murray McCallum, Stuart McInally, Gordon Reid, D'Arcy Rae, Ben Toolis, George Turner, Hamish Watson, Jon Welsh, Ryan Wilson.
Backs: Mark Bennett, Alex Dunbar, Nick Grigg, Chris Harris, Stuart Hogg, Pete Horne, Ruaridh Jackson, Huw Jones, Lee Jones, Blair Kinghorn, Greig Laidlaw, Sean Maitland, Byron McGuigan, Ali Price, Henry Pyrgos, Finn Russell, Tommy Seymour, Duncan Taylor, Nathan Fowles.