Tony McGinness is ready for the biggest game of his Aberdeen Grammar career when Hawick visit Rubislaw tomorrow.
Flanker McGinness has been with the club since the summer of 2008 and played his part in a promotion-winning campaign before helping his club become an established top-flight side.
But with the team struggling on the back of a five-game losing streak, McGinness is bracing himself for a crucial match which will go a long way to determining the club’s survival hopes in the Premiership.
Grammar are eighth in the 10-team division at the halfway mark, five points adrift of sixth-placed Hawick, who have also played nine games.
McGinness said: “I’ve been involved in some big games at the club in the past, such as the ones against Boroughmuir and Melrose last season when our place in the league was not secure but this one is the biggest. It’s make or break for us.
“If we win, we haul them into the pack with us, but if we lose we will be cut adrift. We’re not bottom of the league but it feels as if we are as we’ve under-performed so many times this season.
“The club is a pretty tough place to be at the moment, but it’s important we stick together and do everything we can to get out of the situation we have put ourselves in.
“When you are on a run like the one we are, everything you do is under the microscope and intensifies.
“We’ve got to try to block out what’s happened and focus on playing to our strengths. Whether it’s by one point or 100, we need a win and I’m not bothered how we get it.”
The Grammar players have been putting in the extra hours this week in an attempt to snap their losing run.
McGinness said: “We had three training sessions this week before the captain’s run. We were at Aberdeen Sports Village on Monday doing line-out drills before training at Rubislaw twice. The players have treated the game like it’s cup final week and the whole build-up has centred on Saturday’s game.
“We know how important this one is.”
Grammar won 23-16 at Hawick on the opening day of the campaign and with his club now enjoying home advantage McGinness is determined to make the trip as daunting as possible for the opponents.
He said: “They won’t fancy coming up here. It’s a long day for them and we want to make it as uncomfortable as possible.
“We know what they can do and where they are weak and we have spent the whole week trying to devise a plan to exploit those weaknesses.”