GAVIN EMERSON has told his Dunfermline stars that they aren't far away from being in a similar position to the team currently leading National League Division Four.

The McKane Park first XV head coach has said that if his players "stick together and keep working", they could soon find themselves in a position to be challenging at the top of the division, following Saturday's loss to Garnock.

Last season's West League Division One winners lead the way with eight wins from eight, with their latest coming at Dunfermline on Saturday, who were also newly-promoted last term.

With four wins and three defeats from seven matches played, it has been a solid start for Emerson's side, who are embarking on the club's first campaign in National League rugby since 2015.

"Our guys, we're maybe not there right now, but I said to them they're maybe one season, two seasons ahead of us, but if we stick together and keep working, we can be as good, if not better, than them," Emerson said.

"It's credit to them and their coaches. They've got a good, strong side. The size of some of their boys was unbelievable.

"Our guys need to pick up where they need to work away from the club, whether it's put a bit of size on, get a little bit stronger, get a bit faster, whatever. They need to identify that and be up for doing that work if they want to aspire to be a team like Garnock were on Saturday.

"We were definitely better than we were the previous week at Greenock (a 32-24 defeat). We played better, but it's a hard one. From my memory, we were starved of possession and, when we did get possession, we made a silly handling error, or we'd get turned over, or we'd give a penalty away or whatever.

"When we don't have much ball, it's quite difficult to try and get points on the board.

"We did take two really nice tries; Lewis(Cumming) got a real solo effort from a clearance kick. He managed to catch the bounce, and then he ran in himself, and then the other one in the second half was just a well-worked team score. We just built, built and built in phases, and then we just got over the line with a pick and go.

"It was a difficult one, but it's a game that we knew was going to be a physical battle. We knew it was going to be hard, and we just didn't rise to the occasion."