Highland’s hopes of a top-two finish in National League 1 were dented in Edinburgh where they lost 24-8 to Heriots.
The result leaves Davie Carson’s side eight points behind the Goldenacre men and 18 points adrift of National 1 leaders Biggar, who had a thumping 52-5 win at Dundee High.
Highland head coach admitted the defeat was a setback for the Canal Park side but said: “It’s not the end of the world.
“We competed for most of the match and were well in the game at half-time at only 12-3 down, but this is a seriously good Heriots side.
“We are still in third place which is a mark of the progress we have made. There are seven games to be played, plus our Scottish Cup quarter-final at home to Marr in two weeks’ time. We are in a good place.”
Highland took the lead through a penalty from stand-off Scott Fraser but were under severe pressure for the remainder of the half, conceding two tries, one of which was converted.
A spirited second half kept the Inverness side in the game with No 8 Andrew Findlater breaching the home defence, only for the hosts to add two tries of their own to put the game to bed.
In Thurso, Caithness had a rousing 39-7 win over Murrayfield Wanderers in National League 3, keeping them four points clear of the relegation area.
Head coach Ewan Boyd said: “We were always in control, scoring four tries in the first half.
“We then went on to dominate the second half, adding three more tries. The only disappointment was the news that Perthshire, the team just below us, also won 36-14 and picked up a try bonus point..”
The Caithness try scorers were Hamish Coghill who grabbed a hat-trick, Grant Anderson, Cameron Ryder, Kris Hamilton and Gordy Macleod. Ryder kicked two conversions for the Millbank side.