HEAD coach Grant Talac was hugely disappointed as his Musselburgh side suffered a heavy defeat at the hands of GHA in Giffnock on Saturday.

Talac highlighted a second-half collapse that saw Burgh return empty-handed, despite their hosts twice being reduced to 14 men.

He told Courier Sport: “It was obviously a very disappointing result given how close the game was at half-time.

“We created a few chances to score but unfortunately turned over the ball and ended up behind our own sticks at key moments in the second half, especially losing two tries when GHA were down to 14 men.”

Burgh opened the scoring when Danny Owenson kicked an early penalty to put them 0-3 ahead.

GHA struck back soon after, though, as captain Andrew Henderson, capped 53 times for Scotland, found a gap in the Burgh defence to dive over for the opening try.

Owenson goaled two more penalties, but they came either side of tries from the hosts, with Alan Auld and Chris Binnie crossing and, with Houston converting, Burgh trailed 21-9.

Talac’s side did work their way back into the match, though, thanks to their dominance at the set-piece, and they were awarded a penalty try.

Owenson, in his less accustomed role of stand-off, kicked the conversion to reduce the gap to 21-16, which was how it remained until half-time.

The second half started with Musselburgh on top once more, with Owenson reducing the gap through another penalty, but then came a disastrous spell for the county side.

First, GHA crossed for their fourth try and secured the bonus point, before Ben Addison, another ex-pro in the hosts’ ranks, sprinted clear to score. Houston converted both tries to extend the lead to 35-19.

And when full-back Binnie went over for his second, Burgh were left with only pride to play for, 40-19 down with the game entering its final quarter.

Burgh were caught napping once more, after loose breakdown work saw the ball turned over and the Glasgow side went in again to make the game safe.

It was a hugely disappointing second-half display for Burgh, who will look to bounce back this weekend at Raeburn Place against Edinburgh Accies.

Talac added: “Obviously there is a big step up in standards from last year and every game is extremely close, so we need to just keep working hard to improve our accuracy, consistency and decision-making.

“We have a very talented group of players with some great skills and I am sure they can produce a good performance and get a victory against Accies at the weekend.”

Burgh beat Accies by a point earlier in the season, but the Capital outfit are in good form.

Burgh: G Berry, S Watt, A Cook, K Harris, J Doig; D Owenson, A Sinclair; C Owenson, R Gregor, N McNairn, W Fleming, W Lander, R Young, D Slaven, L Hutson.