MUSSELBURGH RFC head coach Grant Talac praised his side after they secured National League Division 1 safety on Saturday.
Burgh saw off fellow strugglers Aberdeen Grammar 38-30 at Stoneyhill, with a late Danny Owenson penalty denying the visitors a losing bonus point.
Victory moves ninth-placed Burgh 10 points clear of their opponents at the weekend, and a further seven clear of second-bottom Hamilton – Howe of Fife are bottom with 16 points.
Talac said that he was “really delighted” with the bonus-point win, which guarantees their survival.
The Burgh boss told Courier Sport: “We have had some testing times this season and our squad has really been tested, with both injuries and boys leaving to go abroad.
“There has been a core group of players that have played most matches, such as William and Michael Fleming, Brad Graham, Luke Hutson, Graeme Bowman, Danny Owenson, Andrew Cook and Rory and Sandy Watt.
“They have really held things together in the tough times and when other guys have been out.”
Talac, in charge at Stoneyhill since 2013, said the challenge was to ensure the squad remained competitive for the whole season next term.
He said: “The real challenge moving forward in order to try and progress is to make sure we have a deep enough squad.
“When everyone one is fit, we can compete with anyone; however, when the inevitable injures occur, we can sometimes struggle.
“It’s great for our small community club to be playing at this level and the players enjoy it and the tough physical challenge it brings.”
Burgh’s remaining two matches of the campaign see them travel to league leaders Marr, who look set to play in the BT Premiership for the first time next season, and Jed-Forest, who are currently third.
And having secured their place in the second tier of Scottish rugby for a third consecutive year, Talac was relaxed ahead of the final two games of the season.
“Being safe now gives us a chance to enjoy our last two matches without any pressure,” he said, while adding: “The boys can hopefully go out and have a care-free go, with the pressure off.”
Burgh make the long journey west to face Marr, who have lost just once in the league all season, next Saturday (March 25), before ending the season at home to Jed-Forest a week later.