If there is one thing worse than taking over a team that is struggling it is taking over one that is doing rather well, writes Alasdair Reid.

Ayr managed a league and cup double last season, so there's little doubt which category they're in now.

So welcome to the Millbrae hot seat, Peter Laverie - and it can only get hotter.

It was the parting gift of former head coach Kenny Murray, who has now moved on to Glasgow, to nudge the expectation bar up.

Laverie had been central to Ayr's success as Murray's assistant for the past few seasons, but now gets the train set all to himself, starting with an away trip to Stirling County next weekend.

"It's a hard time to take over," conceded Laverie as he eyed the start of the RBS Premiership season.

"That said, we are going out to do the same as last season and win the league and cup, as well as put up a good show in the British and Irish Cup."

Like most of the top clubs, Ayr's recruitment has been modest.

A year ago, they took a raft of players from the newly-relegated Glasgow Hawks after they decided to move down the M77 to keep themselves in the top tier, and most have remained at Millbrae.

Laverie said: "Last year we had a few new players who gave us impetus.

"The overall age of the squad is younger than last time, so that should help.

"The guys from Hawks found Millbrae a welcoming place and none showed any inclination to go back when they were promoted again."

The champions were also boosted by the arrival of Calum Forrester, who had just been released by Glasgow Warriors.

"Calum has been a big influence as captain," said Laverie. "He is a very calming influence on the pitch."`