KEVIN McKenzie could hardly have a more demanding return to senior rugby than he has at Goldenacre tomorrow. Even without a senior game for more than two months, he has been pitched straight into leading Stirling County in their bid to beat Heriot's by at least 43 points and, thus, retain Scottish rugby's club championship.

Injury has kept McKenzie out of action since October 7, but postponement of the Goldenacre match has allowed him to have a hand in the championship finale.

Stirling need to win well if they are to overtake Melrose and win the Premiership on points difference. To win by 42 points would force a play-off with the Borderers, anything less would leave Melrose as champions for the fifth time in seven years.

As one internationalist returns for Stirling, another drops out. John Manson has been ruled out because he was sent off while playing for North and Midlands against the South at Kelso on Sunday. But Stirling can still field a team comprising 15 players who have appeared in district rugby and higher - Manson's place goes to John Gibson, Glasgow's loose head.

Injuries have ruled out three of Heriot's representative players. Hugh Gilmour has a stress fracture, Gordon Lawrie has bother with a spinal disc, and captain Stuart Paul has a poisoned leg. In addition, Teri Rahui has gone home to New Zealand - Cameron Glasgow switches to stand-off in place of the Kiwi.

Yet Heriot's have a potential trump card in their much recast back division as Elliot Bunney, sprinter of repute, will make his league debut on the left wing.

GHK, who lost to Glasgow Southern last week in one of the few games played in the new regional league's first series, have called on Nicky Barrett and Lyall Gibb from Glasgow's under-19 squad as a new half-back pairing for the Old Anniesland contest with Ayr. Graeme Ferguson will be in direct opposition to Barrett as the visitors' stand-off.

Kilmarnock, with a home match against Glasgow Southern, have lost Malcolm Logan for a couple of months for professional reasons. The flanker has found that, despite the fare to fly halfway round the world, it is profitable to take on a contract in sheep-shearing in New Zealand.

While Melrose await news from Goldenacre, they will play Selkirk at the Greenyards. Their pack, denuded by district calls and other reasons, includes a newcomer from Australia, Michael Doonan, a Manly flanker who has been in the Borders since October.

q THE SRU is to call a series of meetings to debate the implications of the recent decision to back District sides in the European Cup.

The leading clubs favouring club participation in Europe have said they will meet early in the New Year and they have not yet discounted the possibility of mounting an official challenge to the SRU blueprint which would mean an extraodrinary general meeting of the Union.

q GLASGOW team to play Connacht in Galway tomorrow:

G Breckenridge (GHK); T Mathewson (Glasgow Academicals), A Bulloch (West of Scotland), A Garry (Watsonians), G Hakwes (GHK); C MacGregor (Glasgow Academicals), C Little (GHK); G McIlwham (GHK), G Bulloch (West of Scotland), G Doran (Glasgow Academicals), M Begley (Glasgow Academicals), G Perrett (West of Scotland), F Wallace (Boroughmuir), captain, D McVey (Ayr), I Sinclair (Watsonians). Replacements - G Caldwell (GHK), J Weston (Watsonians), J Shaw (West of Scotland), S Begley (Glasgow Academicals), D Jamieson (West of Scotland), C Docherty (GHK).

South of Scotland (v Edinburgh, Meggetland, Sunday 2.0) S Welsh (Hawick); C Joiner (Melrose), D Grant (Hawick), S Nichol (Selkirk), K Suddon (Hawick); C Chalmers (Melrose), G Armstrong (Jed-Forest); M Browne (Melrose), J Hay (Hawick), S McColm (Selkirk), R Brown (Melrose), E Elliot, B Renwick (both Hawick), G Weir (Melrose), S Bennet (Kelso).

North and Midlands (v Scottish Exiles, Rubislaw, Aberdeen, Sunday 1.30) - R Shepherd (Melrose); S Burns (Edinburgh Acads), P Rouse (Dundee HS FO), A Carruthers (Kirkcaldy), J Kerr (Watsonians); B Easson (Boroughmuir), M Fraser (Stirling County); W Anderson (Kirkcaldy), R Cairney (Stirling County), D Herrington (Kirkcaldy), S Grimes (Watsonians), R Gray (Dundee HS FP), D McIvor, M Waite (both Edinburgh Acads), A N Other.

Scottish Exiles - G Fraser (London Scottish); M Dods (Northampton), M Craig (Leicester), R Ericksson, G Thompson (both London Scottish); S Laing (Instonians), D Patterson (West Hartlepool); D Hilton (BAth), M Scott (Orrell), M Stewart (Blackheath), A Nesbitt (London Scottish), K Stewart (Cardiff), D Blyth (Waterloo), E Peters (Bath), S Holmes (London Scottish)