Mark Cairns praised his Currie Chieftains players for the character they showed to hold on and win the Premiership title despite playing the entire second half a man down.

Gregor Christie was sent off in the first half and Hawick clawed it back to a two point game in the final minutes of the match at Mansfield Park.

It could have brought back worrying memories of last season’s final when the Borders side score their winning try with the clock in the red.

Cairns was thrilled with how his players stepped up to the plate throughout the game and singled out captain Jamie Forbes for particular praise. They were supported by a noisy support who had travelled from Edinburgh and they repaid them by taking the trophy home for the first time in 14 years.

READ MORE: Hawick 24-26 Currie: Chieftains secure victory to banish heartbreak of 2023

And Cairns said: “We lost a man just before the break but we stayed positive throughout. It would have been easy for our players to have a sinking feeling when there was only two points in it, they have an extra man and possession but they stood strong.

“There were moments when we didn’t get things right but our fight throughout was unbelievable. We hadn’t had a game for a couple of weeks and were raring to go and I was delighted with the start.

“Some of our scores out there were training ground moves which was pleasing for me as a coach. What we talked about all week became reality out there. Also I felt Jamie Forbes was outstanding for us at 10 and controlled the game.”

Hawick captain Shawn Muir was devastated by the result but he was full of praise for his opponents and admits they were the better side on the day.

He said: “We’re bitterly disappointed but on the flipside I’m massively proud of the squad this season. We’ve won the Border League and the Scottish Cup and were runners-up in the Premiership. It’s tough to take just now but we’ve won two out of three so it’s still a good season. The Scottish Cup last week was massive but we just fell short today by two points.

 “We’re bitterly disappointed. I thought we were going to snatch it at the end but there are no excuses from us. Fair play to Currie, they were the better team. They were probably the better team last year so it’s a bit of karma.

“We weren’t at our best and they deserve it - they’ve been unlucky in a couple of finals."