MUSSELBURGH Rugby Club’s head coach has described the “relief” felt after his charges completed a great escape to ensure survival on the final day of the Tennent’s Premiership season.

Burgh had looked doomed to relegation just a few weeks ago but found their form late in the campaign.

And a heroic away victory over Glasgow Hawks on Saturday proved enough to keep them in the top tier of Scottish club rugby for another season.

The county side had previously been defeated comfortably at home by Hawks but required victory in their last game, and results elsewhere to go their way, to continue their stay in the Premiership.

Despite trailing at the half, Burgh held firm defensively, with the boot of Danny Owenson a key component in a 20-10 victory which kept the club up.

Head coach Derek O’Riordan spoke to Courier Sport about the result and what it meant to the club.

READ MORE: Rugby: Musselburgh secure survival in heroic final day performance

He said: “It’s just a bit overwhelming and there was a great sense of belief and relief.”

Musselburgh had narrowly lost to Heriot’s Blues in a key game last month, after which it looked like relegation was looming.

O’Riordan added: “Nobody gave us a hope in hell of staying up.

“But that motivated us and gave us the impetus to win our remaining games.

The club were still reliant on other results, with fellow relegation candidates GHA travelling at the weekend to unbeaten league leaders Hawick.

GHA put in a spirited performance but fell to a narrow 15-13 defeat, which, coupled with Musselburgh’s win, ensured Burgh’s stay in the division.

O’Riordan stressed that the squad, because of a break in fixtures, had “two weeks to think about the game” and the key was to keep the players calm and not let them get ahead of themselves.

East Lothian Courier: Derek O'Riordan will take the helm at Musselburgh RFC next seasonDerek O'Riordan will take the helm at Musselburgh RFC next season

But when the GHA result was confirmed, the celebrations started.

He added: “The mood when the GHA result came in was incredible – the joy was palpable.”

O’Riordan stressed how important staying in the Premiership was for the club, with its role in the community being vital for the development of rugby in East Lothian.

“It’s massive,” he said. “We’re very much community-focused – developing young players for East Lothian is key and making sure young players have a club to play for in East Lothian.”

The club have a number of local players in the squad, with some players’ fathers having also turned out for Burgh, and O’Riordan was delighted that this could continue into next season.

He added: “We’re quite proud not just for Musselburgh but for East Lothian.”

l Turn to Page 44 for a match report from the game.