Heriot’s travel to face Ayr in the BT Premiership final today hoping to become the fifth club to complete a league and cup double.
The reigning champions are seeking to follow in the footsteps of Melrose in 1997, Hawick in 2002, Glasgow Hawks in 2004 and Ayr in 2013 by following up last weekend’s cup win over the Greenyards side at BT Murrayfield with a successful defence of their crown. Gala also won a double in 1999 but the league leg of that was the old Second Division title.
The Goldenacre side also won the BT Charity Shield last summer so it could be viewed as a treble and they will travel west with confidence built up by dogged semi-finals in both cup and league and that 21-13 victory over Melrose seven days ago. Ayr have home advantage and are buoyed by the thumping 48-10 defeat they inflicted on Melrose in the last four, not to mention a home and away league double this season over today’s opponents, so it all points to a cracker at Millbrae this afternoon.
Both squads are boosted by professional experience, with two-try cup final hero Neil Cochrane again released by Edinburgh to take a place on the Heriot’s bench, where he is joined by Glenn Bryce, the Glasgow full-back who will join Alan Solomons’ squad in the summer.
Heriot’s coach Phil Smith makes only one change from his cup final squad, with pro Glenn Bryce on the bench for the injured Iain Wilson, and he said: “The highs of last weekend have carried through to training this week with three quality sessions, which made selection much tougher than it looks.
“We go into this game knowing exactly how Ayr feel regarding the pressure and expectation having been the most consistent team in the league over the season.”