Highland co-captain Rory Cross feels the club are ready to take the next step and gain promotion from National 3.
Tomorrow’s huge clash against league-leaders Glasgow Accies will go a long way to determining if Highland are one of the two sides who will go up at the end of the season.
The greens have not lost in the league since October and are the only team to beat Accies this season, inflicting a 17-10 defeat on them at Canal Park in October.
In their second season in National 3 and with their revamped £3.5million Canal Park facility up and running, the building blocks are in place for a third promotion in four years.
Cross said: “It was our target this year and I feel we’re ready to move up. With the facilities we have now and the amount of work put in behind the scenes, it would be a great thank you from all the players to the club. We feel we deserve to be promoted – you don’t think about all the extra hours you’re putting in because that’s what you aspire towards.
“We were disappointed not to go up last year but as a group of players, it brought us closer together. There’s such a good atmosphere at the club right now; everyone is putting extra effort in and pushing each other on. We feel we’ve learned from mistakes from last year, where we panicked or chucked games away in the run-in.”
A resilient defensive effort was key to Highland grinding out a win against Accies on home soil, with tries from Stuart MacDonald and Mike Gordon earning them the victory.
A similar effort will be required at New Anniesland tomorrow as Dave Carson’s side, six points off the last promotion place but with two games in hand, chase down the leading pack.
Cross said: “Glasgow have really dangerous backs and their line speed is always good. Defence will be massive as we want to get the ball back as soon as possible, putting pressure on them to make mistakes. If we can stifle their attack, we’re confident in our ability to go on the attack.
“It’s the strongest squad we’ve had all season, which is brilliant. It’s definitely our biggest game of the season and while I wouldn’t say we feel unbeatable, we’re quietly confident in what we can do.”
After tomorrow Highland face relegation-threatened sides Dalziel, Haddington and Perthshire, with an away trip to mid-table Ardrossan sandwiched in between. Their final game of the season could be a promotion-decider, with St Boswells, who are a point and a place above the Inverness side, coming to Canal Park.