It all starts here . . .

Of the three southside rugby clubs, who all return to league action on Saturday, Whitecraigs coach John Shaw says his team are in “the best position”.

A top four finish in his side’s first 11 games would mean a place in Premier B and a chance to compete with the bottom four Premier one clubs for a place in the top tier of Scottish rugby next season.

All this while, because of June’s league restructuring, Cartha and GHA will languish in Premier three with no chance of promotion in what is effectively a dead rubber year.

Mr Shaw told ExtraSport: “We are the only team in area who have something to play for. We have a lot of home grown talent and we are keen to get the local community down to West Lodge to support us , as it will be the highest standard of competitive rugby in the area”.

Of the trio, only Whitecraigs keep their coaching set up in tact, with both Cartha and GHA revamping during what will be a re-building season.

New Cartha head coach Gary Grant — who watched his side defeat Glasgow Accies in their final pre-season game - has recruited full-back Johnny Manning from Ayr, as well as twins Ross and Greig Gilmour from Cumbernauld.

A Cartha man through and through as a player, a backs coach and now, the boss, Mr Grant says he will look to introduce “a more expansive style of rugby.

“We have not been able to spend money, while some of our rivals have. So this season, we want to enjoy our rugby, build for next season and blood a lot of young talent.

“They will learn a lot from the experienced heads we have in the dressing room”.

GHA’s new coach Gordon Macpherson — who has brought in two big name signings, former Glasgow Warriors Hefin O’Hare and Andy Henderson — says he hopes to bring “stability and experience to the club”.

“I want to build a foundation where we keep the young guys we have and they don’t get poached by other clubs. “In particular, forwards Euan Angus Macleod and Adam Barnett have impressed me immensely since I arrived. Neither is 20-years-old yet but both have a tremendous amount of ability.

“I’m excited by the challenge at GHA, it will be a rebuilding year but next season, we’ll be ready to begin our climb back up to Premier one.

On Saturday, Whitecraigs host Peebles, GHA host Dumfries and Cartha visit Greenock.

n GHA hooker James Malcolm followed in the footsteps of clubmate Adam Barnett when he started for Scotland U18 in their win against the Newcastle Falcons’ academy this weekend.

Currently too young to play front row at senior level, the Braidholm faithful will have to wait another year before the Hutche pupil teams up in the first XV with elder brother Donald.