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Highland warned not to take bottom side Stewart’s Melville lightly in National One encounter

Highland head coach Davie Carson. Image: Sandy McCook/DC Thomson.
Highland head coach Davie Carson. Image: Sandy McCook/DC Thomson.

Highland head coach Davie Carson is targeting five points against Stewart’s Melville this weekend – but insists his side cannot afford to show any complacency.

The Inverness outfit host a struggling side, who sit rock-bottom of the National One table with only one win from 14 games this term.

Highland triumphed when the sides last met in Edinburgh in October, albeit with a narrow 21-18 win.

Carson expects Saturday’s opponents to arrive at Canal Park with a steely determination to scrap for every point.

He said: “I have said to the players that it’s a five-pointer at home – it’s got to be.

“We just managed four points down there against them. They were quite a sticky side who threw the ball about well, a typical Edinburgh side.

“They don’t have a big pack but they are pretty fit and they move the ball really quickly which suited us as well.

Highland’s Canal Park.

“They will be wondering why they are bottom of the league, as they have had some really close games.

“Although they have lost, it has not been by much. It’s one of these banana skins where we’ve got to be careful, we’ve got to treat it like we are playing the league leaders.

“They have only won one game, but I reckon they could have won more than that by the odd try here and there.

“It’s one of those where we have to be careful, and bring our A game into it.

“If you are in that position you fight for everything to try and stay in the division. Every point will be crucial for them, so at this stage they will certainly not going to lie down and let teams beat them.

“We will have to put in a performance to do that.”

Momentum key in coming weeks

Highland fell to a 16-7 defeat away to Biggar in their last outing, with last weekend’s home match against Kelso having been postponed.

Carson, whose side occupies fifth spot at present, is eager to build momentum in the coming weeks.

Highland have Grant Jamieson and Craig Findlater back in the fold, however Seumas Ross is likely to be rested due to a back issue.

Carson added: “We have some big games coming up. The cup is next week, which we will look forward to when it comes along.

“With Kelso playing Gala this weekend, somebody is going to drop points.

“Getting above Gala into fourth is our next target, and then we will see where we go from then.”

Orkney looking to get back to winning ways

In National Three, Orkney head coach Derek Robb is relishing the return to home action against Howe of Fife.

The islanders were narrowly defeated 31-30 by high-flying West of Scotland last weekend, with their squad back to near full strength following an illness bug.

Robb has been boosted by the return of former skipper Alan Brown, who has made himself available during the coming weeks.

Orkney head coach Derek Robb.

Robb said: “Last Saturday was more indicative of what a fit Orkney side is capable of, being just narrowly beaten by a West of Scotland side that is lying second in the table.

“We had most of our key players back, and seem to be over the illness that was right throughout the squad which wasn’t helping things at all.

“I was chuffed with that performance and hopefully we can carry that on into this weekend.

“Howe of Fife will be a tough game. From my perspective, from playing them down there they are probably the best defensively organised side we have faced all season.

“They were very well drilled and barely missed a tackle the whole game.

“On our own patch we tend to be close to full strength, and it’s about how well teams travel to us as they face the same issues that we do when we go away from home.”

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