WHITECRAIGS will aim to bounce straight back into the top reaches of the game next season with a new head coach at the helm.

The West Lodge club has this week announced the appointment of Jim Barrie as head coach, who takes over from Jim Henderson following his period of interim control after the departure of John Shaw midway through last season.

The former Kilmarnock centre brings a wealth of coaching experience to the role and is already excited by the challenge ahead.

He said: "With the boys having done so well over the past four or five seasons, I will be looking for them to take on board their experiences from last season to make a real effort to get promotion out of what will be a tough league.

"I just want to get them going again and the aim will certainly be to go up.

"But with the success the club has had in recent times, other teams will be going for their scalp.

"So we need to try to get the guys prepared physically and mentally to cope with that.

"For the last few years they have always been the new boys in the league and perhaps sprung a few surprises, but this time they are coming back down and teams will be going for them." Barrie started his coaching career with Glasgow under-20s before moving on to Ayr as backs coach for two season.

A further two seasons at Glasgow Hawks followed, as part of Shade Munro's coaching team, before six years as head coach at Ardrossan when he guided the Ayrshire team to Premier Three.

Most recently, Barrie has spent two and a half seasons with Cambuslang where they narrowly missed out on promotion Part of the set-up at Cambuslang was Kenny Glen, a specialist scrummaging coach, who has been brought on board to work with the Whitecraigs forwards next season.

Current player-caoch Stewart Magorian will be the third member of the coaching team.

Pre-season training will start on July 10.