Yet, in the last few weeks, there have been signs of a renaissance at Heriot's, who have rallied from a shaky start to their Premiership campaign to record back-to-back victories over defending champions Melrose and Dundee HSFP.
On the pitch, Phil Smith's personnel have illustrated their resilience and demonstrated their ability to attack from every corner of the pitch; a philosophy which helped them overcome a nine-point interval deficit against their Border rivals at the Greenyards, and which enabled them score 40 points against the well-regarded Dundee XV. It's not yet time to hang out the bunting or pop the champagne corks, of course, but Smith is bubbly enough without the hard stuff and genuinely feels his charges have turned a corner.
"It has been pretty unbelievable to have gone from the side which struggled to stay up last season to one which has just beaten the clubs who finished first and second in the Premiership," said Smith, who senses a resurgence in morale and motivation throughout the outfit, not least following the return of the redoubtable Iain Milne in the role of vice-president. "We have done it with virtually the same squad, and we haven't done it by being defensive. Instead, we have scored a lot of points.
"Maybe we need to talk up the quality of the club circuit a bit more. The weekend before last, there were 39 tries in five matches and there is a lot of adventure among the sides. There are plenty of very close tussles, and I suspect things might tighten up once the pitches get heavier. But, at the moment, players are choosing to run with the ball and make things happen, rather than going for the safety-first approach, and punting it into the corner.
"It has led to some exciting rugby, and even the sides who are towards the bottom are picking up bonus points and show why we are seeing spectators returning."
Coaches can't afford any sliver of complacency in this pulverising environment and Smith appreciates there is little value in his troops winning in Melrose if they come a cropper against Edinburgh Accies this weekend. Yet, equally, he appears determined to continue cajoling Heriots to eschew caution and chase every sniff of possession in and around the breakdown. It may sound a high-risk strategy, yet the players themselves are striving to pursue higher standards.
"The guys are constantly pushing to raise their skill levels, they are now effectively training four nights a week," Smith said. "The message this week is that we have to build on what we have achieved and not get carried away. Accies haven't been far away in some of their matches, and this is another derby, so it will be ultra-competitive. But, on what I have watched so far, I reckon it will also be a thrilling contest."
This is a potent brew. And that news is beginning to spread.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEKEND
There may be no Glasgow teams in the top tier, but Hawks are soaring once more and maintained their 100% record with a 37-25 away win over Hamilton. Something has to give when they next tackle Selkirk, who also have four wins from four.
The looming Premiership battle between Melrose and Ayr should offer a compelling spectacle. The Millbrae side are unbeaten and have a four-point lead over their foes. It would be a fillip if they could triumph against Craig Chalmers' men.