NEILSON Park will host “the biggest match of the season” for Haddington RFC as they welcome fellow strugglers Orkney on Saturday.

That is the view of Reds head coach Rhodri Thomas following his side’s 25-41 win at Perthshire (see match report above left) on Saturday, only their second league triumph this term and five months after their win at Dalziel.

Other results mean Thomas’ side are still bottom of the table but the gap between them and the safety of third-bottom, currently occupied by Orkney, is down to a single point.

Thomas told Courier Sport: “Saturday is the biggest game of the season for us.

“We’ve got four games left – two at home – and when you look at the teams around us, we’ve got the best run-in.

“I think we will need a minimum of two wins and then something else to stay up. The main thing is with four games left it’s in our hands.”

The Reds boss heaped praise on his side, who scored seven tries in Saturday’s win, while refusing to single out teenage stand-off Paul Cunningham, the Scotland age-grade cap who was drafted into the starting XV with several first-team regulars unavailable.

He added: “The backs are running well and our pack has found some form recently – they showed a lot of fight, as they have all season, and a lot of heart to get the result on Saturday.

“Paul is a good player but it wasn’t all down to him. He played well but it was a real team effort from all the boys.”

Thomas, a teacher at Windygoul Primary School, Tranent when he is not on the Neilson Park sidelines, said it would be an “exciting” end to the season for everyone involved at the club at the end of a “difficult” season.

The former North Berwick boss told Courier Sport why he felt his side had struggled so far this term.

“We’ve been competitive against the teams at the top of the league but against those middle teams, we’ve just not been there,” he said.

“We haven’t been able to be consistent with the side we’ve put out until recently, but we realised a while ago that these three games [against Perthshire, Orkney and Dalziel] would be the most important for our season.”

And the Reds boss was hopeful of seeing a big crowd at Neilson Park for Saturday’s match with Orkney (kick-off 3pm).

The outcome could go a long way to determining whether Haddington avoid the drop to the regional leagues for the first time in the club’s 108-year history.