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Highland are putting Inverness on the Scottish rugby map

By Will Clark

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The winter break in Scottish club rugby has given the likes of Highland head coach Dave Carson the chance to reflect on the first half of the season.

Highland Rugby Club v Ayr - Canal Park, Inverness..Owen MacDonald gets the first try...Picture: Callum Mackay..
Highland Rugby Club v Ayr - Canal Park, Inverness..Owen MacDonald gets the first try...Picture: Callum Mackay..

There have been some missed opportunities to put more points on the board in National One, and some fantastic results both home and away.

Highland have been mixing it up with some of the biggest names in Scottish rugby, scoring victories over the likes of Kelso, Stirling and Heriots that have kept them in contention in what has proven to be a tightly packed race for promotion to the Premiership.

Before that though, it was a relatively slow start to the campaign for Highland – a rarity given their relentless push through the pyramid in recent years – but that could easily be put down to the 18-month lay-off that preceded the current season.

As far as Carson is concerned, it certainly had an effect but it was not the only factor – and he is proud of what Highland have done since.

“I think it probably affected every club,” Carson, in his second spell in charge at Canal Park, said.

“It wasn’t a slow start, but we had a few changes. We’d had new players come in and train with us, but we had to get them up to speed in National One which took three or four games.

“Even halfway through that, we had to recognise that it’s a tougher league than it was when we first came up before Covid.

“All the amateur Super 6 sides have bedded in now, they’ve been a lot stronger. They were in a wee bit of disarray back then, because it had just been thrown up, so it’s a really strong, competitive league.

“We’re enjoying playing in it, we’re going to some great clubs and some big clubs are coming up to Inverness for a change, which is absolutely fantastic.

“We’re putting Inverness and Highland Rugby Club on the map in more ways than one, which is only good for Inverness and the club itself.”

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