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RUGBY: Highland are closing in on record breaking placing in league

By Alasdair Fraser

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Gordon Gregor. Picture: Callum Mackay..
Gordon Gregor. Picture: Callum Mackay..

HEAD coach Dave Carson is backing Highland’s hard-working squad to clinch second place in National One as a record-breaking finish of the modern era.

If they can pick off Glasgow Accies and Gala with bonus points in their final two fixtures, the Canal Park side would be assured of the runners-up spot behind champions Ayr.

That would eclipse last season’s previous high of fifth in Scotland’s second tier.

Whatever the outcome, the 2023/24 season will be distinguished as another of impressive progress for the Inverness outfit.

“When Ayr were steaming away with the title and we slipped up before Christmas, we gave the guys a goal to finish second,” Carson said.

“We ran Ayr close at Millbrae, 12-10, and, having beaten them at the weekend, we’re sitting second with two games to play. That’s fantastic for the boys.”

Seeing off the lingering challenge of Melrose, GHA and Watsonians is not a task Carson or his players are taking for granted.

“We’re away to Accies this weekend. We had a great game in Inverness (29-14 in October) and they have thrived in their first year in National One,” he said. “They play similarly to us – they like to run it wide. They have quality backs and have recruited some cracking forwards.

“It is going to be tough, but if we can maintain standards shown in the last couple of weeks, we’ll hopefully pick up another win.”

There is also the lure of setting up a home finale against Gala.

“Ten points from the next two and we’ll be okay. Finishing the season with four straight victories would be fantastic,” Carson said.

“But if we want to finish second we’re going to have to get the bonus points as well, there’s no doubt.

“We’ll not put pressure on ourselves for that. We’ll just go out and look to finish the season with two more wins – and hopefully the bonus points will come.”

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