Stirling County begin their 2016/17 BT Premiership campaign at home to Hawick on Saturday – with a 3pm kick-off at Bridgehaugh Park.

County will be seeking to improve on last season’s disappointing 8th place league finish, and have freshened up and strengthened the playing squad over the summer period, as the Stirling club aim for a top-four finish in an increasingly competitive BT Premiership.

On reflection head coach Dave Adamson said: "Season 2015/16, for me, was one of consolidation. With myself as the new head coach, a new president at the helm, and a number of players moving on to other clubs, it meant that we went into our first game with, to paraphrase a rather confusing quote from a former US Sec. of Defense, a lot of known knowns, known unknowns and basically things I didn't have a clue about.

"However, with a few players joining us from overseas, and the squad being as fit as it had been for a number of seasons, we maintained our place in the league which, after a few trying times during the season, was just reward for the efforts of the staff and players throughout the season.

“Moving on, no sooner had season 15/16 finished, we were already looking ahead to the new season. With developments off the pitch going well, the focus had to be on what happened on the pitch.

"The overriding priority being to strengthen the 1st XV squad. Over the years, Stirling County's youth section has been a conveyor belt of talent, and one that has provided the 1st XV squad with a steady stream of players; however, with the league becoming ever more competitive, the excellent young players that our youth section produces now need to be supplemented with players from elsewhere.

"In total, 12 players have been brought in to complement those players already in the club. Eight from within Scotland, four from overseas. All have excellent pedigrees, and all have already added great value to our squad.

"Additionally, with our coaching team now being one of the strongest in Scotland with former player Grant Gilchrist being joined by Scotland internationalist, Chris Fusaro, we are quietly optimistic for the coming season."

County’s squad are well prepared with pre-season matches against Howe of Fife, Ayr and Marr, and are eagerly awaiting Saturday’s visit of Hawick for their opening league match.

Members are reminded that pre-match lunches are available before most of County’s 1st XV home BT Premiership matches, with the first lunch of the season will be on Saturday, September 10 before the County v Glasgow Hawks match.

Cost is £15 for members/£25 for non-members (includes match admission, programme and seat in stand) – please contact Emma at the club office on 01786 478866 or email to reserve your place.