Davie Carson reckons Highland’s club spirit can help his players refocus following the death of second XV player Lewis MacDonald.
Highland were left in mourning last week following the death of 23-year-old MacDonald from Nairn, with the club postponing all senior matches and junior events last weekend.
Following MacDonald’s funeral on Monday, Highland return to action tomorrow when they host Kelso in their final National 1 fixture before the winter break.
Highland dealt with tragedy earlier this year following the sudden death of coach Alister Wemyss, and Carson says his players can help each other to negotiate another tough period.
Carson said: “We had a session on Tuesday, after the funeral on Monday which gives us a bit of closure on it, although it’s still pretty raw with a lot of them.
“We will have a minute’s silence for Lewis on Saturday and we will just get on with the game.
“I think it showed when Porky left us, the exact same thing happened. We all just got together and worked hard.
— Highland Rugby Club (@HighlandRFC) December 13, 2019
“These are obviously totally different circumstances with Lewis being so young, but the boys have been looking after each other.
“We have met up near enough every night at the club, and we trained on Saturday just to meet up.
“The boys are all pretty open and and a respondent unit. They all speak to each other and they are not scared to show their emotions, which they have to do.”
Carson is determined to round off a successful year with a victory over Kelso, who his side defeated 27-26 in a dramatic encounter in the Borders in September.
Carson, who is without Hugo Crush and has a doubt over Seamus Ross, added: “It has been a great year, so we just want to finish 2019 with a win.
“That will finish us in third place in National 1, which is fantastic in where we have come from.
“This time last year we were fighting to go up into National 1. We managed to do that and we are now sitting third, which would be a great way to finish if we can get the five points against Kelso.
“Last time we played them we were 19-5 down at half-time but came back to win it with a bonus point.
“To get five points any time in the Borders, as we have found out since, is really difficult.
“We will look for the same sort of thing. It’s probably the longest journey any of them have ever travelled for rugby from the Borders.”