TOP flight Musselburgh RFC have vowed to cause a few upsets as they attempt to stay in an ultra-competitive Premiership.

The new rugby season is getting under way for East Lothian’s clubs this weekend with knockout action, before league business gets under way next Saturday (September 7).

And that will see Musselburgh playing in the top-tier Premiership after securing promotion last season, following the departure of six of the country’s top clubs to the new semi-pro Super 6.

That means Burgh will this season do battle with some of the biggest names in Scottish club rugby, including Hawick, Currie and Glasgow Hawks.

Graeme Paterson, head coach at Musselburgh RFC, warned that his team would need to be at their best throughout the season.

However, he has also stressed that they would not be walkovers and opposing sides should not expect them to be soft touches.

He told Courier Sport: “We have to be realistic and say we come in as the sixth ranked team [from those coming up from last season’s National 1].

“Coming up from National 1, everybody will be looking at us to say that is the team we are going to target.

“But conversely, we have got to look at that as an opportunity to exploit some drop-off by them.

“If they don’t take us seriously and respect what we can do and what we showed, particularly in the first half of the season, what we are capable of in attack and if they don’t defend, then we will push them with the personnel that we have got.

“I think realistically every game is going to be a real challenge but a challenge that the guys are very much up for and looking to put some markers down to say we are here and hopefully here to stay.”

Before the league season gets under way next Saturday, Musselburgh host Glasgow Hawks on Saturday afternoon.

The Scottish Cup clash offers the Honest Toun side a chance to see the standard of their Premiership rivals up close.

Paterson said: “Glasgow Hawks are obviously a well-established Premiership side and have been for a number of years.

“Now, they have that experience of being at the top level but they are also a bit of an unknown.

“We don’t know if they have potentially lost players to Super 6 teams, retirements or how their recruitment has gone.”

Musselburgh’s pre-season preparations saw them travel to Boroughmuir for a four-team tournament which also featured Heriots Blues and Blaydon.

The East Lothian side were 21-12 winners in the first game against Heriots Blues before a 26-0 win over the hosts.

Blaydon, based on the outskirts of Newcastle, proved too strong in the final before a 34-26 win over Dundee High wrapped up Musselburgh’s pre-season preparations.

Paterson, who played for Musselburgh in the 1990s, felt that things were heading in the right direction.

He said: “I think everybody gets to the point now and wants the cup or league, competitive games, to start having done all the pre-season work.

“With us getting that place in the Premiership, it has added a wee bit extra and everybody is looking forward to starting off the games.”

When the Premiership gets under way next Saturday, Burgh open up by hosting Hawick at Stoneyhill.

Meanwhile, Preston Lodge are preparing for another season in National 2 after finishing mid-table last time out.

Their season starts with a trip west on Saturday to play Carrick away in the National League Cup, before a week later they begin their league campaign away at Whitecraigs.

Meanwhile, Haddington find themselves this season in the unfamiliar position of playing in the East regional leagues following their relegation from National 3 last time out.

They join Ross High in East 1 and will hope for an immediate return to the National leagues.

And intriguingly, the two clubs will lock horns in an East Lothian derby to open the league season next Saturday when they do battle at Tranent.

Before then, they both have Edinburgh Shield business to attend to on Saturday, with Haddington away at Broughton and Ross High hosting Inverleith.

There will also be county derbies in East 2 this season, where North Berwick join Dunbar after the former finished bottom of East 1 last term.

Dunbar are also in Edinburgh Shield action on Saturday, at home to Penicuik, before their first league match a week later away at Trinity Academicals, the same day North Berwick also get their league campaign up and running with a home tie against Langholm.