Ayr have achieved significant success in the last three seasons, winning the Premiership and a pair of Scottish Cups, as well as claiming several impressive scalps in the British & Irish Cup.

Yet, their redoubtable president, Billy McHarg, makes it abundantly clear that the Millbrae outfit are planning for the long-term health of the sport in Burns country. Of course, they relish gathering silverware, but not at the expense of spreading the union gospel in their environs and forging partnerships with anyone who might aid their progress.

Ayr, whether in the guise of McHarg or their coaches, Kenny Murray and Peter Laverie, can tolerate a transitional season if it helps in the process of nurturing the next crop of Damien Kellys and Mark Bennetts. They entertain Aberdeen GSFP this weekend and, while they will probably have to rely on other teams slipping up to realise their ambition of qualifying for the B&I Cup once more, they do not lack for high-flying desire, nor meticulous attention to detail in their development chores.

Much of that philosophy stems from McHarg. "Success at First XV level is very satisfying and gives us a lot of publicity, but it is built on the efforts of many people who volunteer a significant amount of time," he said. "We have a thriving youth section, with teams from five years up to under-18s. That translates to around 300 youngsters taking part in rugby every week, assisted by a band of dedicated coaches, team managers and administrators, while our partnership with the Ayr Community Rugby Trust enables us to support rugby in primary and secondary schools in the area."

McHarg seems particularly proud of another fresh initiative. "This season, we have launched our own Academy to provide additional specialist skills and conditioning support to some of our young players," he said. "Over 30 signed up for the new programme, which is run by Colin White, a first XV player, who has been through the system himself and is a qualified PE teacher with professional rugby experience. We want to develop players for every different level of the game.

"We know what it takes to perform at the top level, so we must also work hard to produce players for our Firsts and beyond. Our coaching team, Kenny and Peter, enjoy an excellent relationship with Glasgow Warriors and the club and the professional side both benefit from this. We hope that all the pro players who have turned out for us in the draft have felt welcome and part of a vibrant club, because that is important to us and also demonstrates where the future of the game lies: everybody working together."

The days of endless bickering between clubs and SRU appear a distant memory. Indeed, McHarg sings the praises of his organisation's association with South Ayrshire Council and the governing body, the latter of which has furnished material benefit to Ayr through the Cashback for Communities Scheme, which has helped them improve their facilities. There is evidence of a new spirit of collectivism flowing between grassroots and elite.

"In 2012, the priorities for the club are trying to win the league and defend the Scottish Cup, but maintaining a busy, active club at all levels remains just as important," said McHarg, who recognises that Murray and Laverie have done a terrific job of starting almost from scratch at the outset of the campaign.

"We have some real talent coming through our ranks and one or two exciting developments in the pipeline. Keep an eye out for Gavin Lowe; he is an exciting prospect, and we'll be doing our bit to ensure that he and future generations have the very best preparation and facilities on offer at Ayr."

McHarg derived considerable pleasure from watching his heroes defeat Bristol, the current leaders of England's Championship, at Millbrae last month, in front of more than 1000 fans. Yet he is prescient enough to recognise that success is cyclical and, given that knowledge, has helped mould a template of which he can be genuinely proud.