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Greens need to learn quickly, says boss McGee

By Matt Leslie

 STEEP learning curve awaits Caithness rugby club as they embark upon their historic entry into the Scottish National League set-up.

The Greens secured their landmark promotion last season with an emphatic campaign that saw them blitz the Caledonia League.

Starting in the third tier of the National League, a trip to Newton Stewart tomorrow will be their inaugural fixture.

While Caithness brushed aside many teams with ease last year, by stepping up a level, the Greens will undoubtedly find their new opponents to be made of sterner stuff.

A fact that is not lost on Greens boss Tom McGee.

He said: “When I came back to the region, I wanted promotion. We’ve now got that and now we want to stay in the National League set-up.

“However, we need to adapt quickly as this will be a sharp learning curve.

“The opposition will be of a higher standard and you’ve got tobe at your best both mentally and physically.

“That applies to the coaching staff too. We will have to manage our own emotions and adapt to new situations during the game in order to get the team on track.

“We’ve a fair bit to travel as well for the first game. Newton Stewart are down in Galloway, half an hour away from Stranraer, but we’ve done long treks before and come away with good results.”

The Greens will be hoping to bounce back from last week’s National League Cup defeat at second tier side Peebles.

They lost 52-22 but while the score line conveys the impression that Caithness were thrashed, McGee insists it doesn’t tell the full story of the game.

He added: “It’s a painful-looking score line alright but for most of the game, our performance was exceptional. It was only in the last 10-15 minutes that Peebles ran away with it.

“We had quite a few guys missing so we were left with having to field eight under-18 players and another four players who had were carrying injuries and had to play through the pain barrier.

“It was fairly close for 70 minutes but the hard nature of the game had seen the boys expand a lot of energy which allowed a much fresher Peebles to break away.

“However, it’s a credit to ourselves that we were able to patch up a team for this fixture. A number of teams had to cancel their fixtures because they were unable to raise a team.”

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