IT'S last orders at The Clansman as the hit BBC Scotland comedy Still Game returns for a final series. Stepping on to the set in Dumbarton last August, the mood is an infectious mix of melancholy, mischief and the bubbling excitement of kids soon to be let out for the school holidays.

Director Michael Hines is trying to corral the gang into position for a scene in Boabby the barman's office, a cluttered backroom within the fictional Craiglang pub. "It is like herding kittens," he says, with a sigh and mock roll of the eyes.

Eventually after much cajoling, everyone is in their place as Jack, Victor, Isa and Boabby – played by Ford Kiernan, Greg Hemphill, Jane McCarry and Gavin Mitchell – stare intently at CCTV footage captured outside the pub. What does it show? Let's just say that it's a cracker …

On the other side of the wall from Boabby's office is the hallowed bar of The Clansman itself. As they set up for the next scene, I have the opportunity to wander round.

There are the familiar slightly scuffed wooden tables and faded upholstery, lights twinkling on the fruit machine where Auld Eric bowed out last season. On one wall is a blackboard bearing the chalky words: "Film Night: The End of Days" – a nod to the final series.

Optics are lined up in a row behind the bar. There's a framed photograph of Boabby and Auld Eric sitting pride of place. The price board lists draught and bottled beer, spirits and wine. It reads "doof" instead of food, with £2 "tats" and £1 "spies" aka The Clansman's famed pies.

You can also pay £2 for "a bad toe pok", 80p for "alas sore lug" and 70p for a Beano. Traditional bar snacks include Space Raiders, Johnny's Onion Rings and tomato-flavoured Golden Wonder crisps.

Mitchell stands patiently beside the bar as Boabby's tumbling mane – a wig – is given a quick brush. There's a momentary mix-up with his trademark tea towel and the props department end up consulting photographs to check which one he's to sling over his shoulder.

From where I'm standing the two towels being held up and examined look nigh-on identical, but attention to detail in continuity is crucial. Finally, the correct one is selected from a pile and handed to Mitchell.

The rest of the cast including Paul Riley and Mark Cox, who play Winston and Tam respectively, have piled in around a corner table to shoot a scene which involves an iPad and a hilarious video chat with a familiar face overseas.

Once that's wrapped, there's time to grab a quick sit down with Still Game co-creators Hemphill and Kiernan to talk about the end of the show, their incredible journey over the past nine series ... and what comes next.

As they wander over, Kiernan is shaking his head. "Navid's shop is full of sweeties and you're sitting out here?" he says. "There's Bounties, Chewits …"

Hemphill calls out to the director. "Er, Mike, is there any of that 85 per cent chocolate?" Kiernan chips in. "Aye, can I get a bit of 85 per cent chocolate please?"

Hines nods and disappears off in the direction of the hidden chocolate stash. "It is the only chocolate we can eat because we're on a diet," explains Hemphill.

Kiernan: "Honestly, we are like a couple of wee lassies."

Hemphill: "It is the Atkins Diet."

Kiernan: "Meat, meat and more meat."

Isn't that a bit out of date these days? "It is super out-of-date," says Hemphill. "But we are pensioners. We only heard about the Atkins Diet last week."

Hines returns with the chocolate. "You're joking! That's it?" exclaims Kiernan as his stamp-sized piece is handed over. He pops it in his mouth and pulls a face. "It's as bitter as coal," he says.

They could go on like this for hours, a volley of one-liners back and forth. So, we'll jump right in.

How does it feel to say farewell to Still Game?

Greg Hemphill: Sad and happy.

Ford Kiernan: It's bit of both. Some of the scenes we've recorded have driven home that it is coming to an end. It is tugging at the heartstrings a wee bit. But most of the time we are laughing because we know we are going to go fishing and do nothing now.

When you were writing this series did you know how things would end?

GH: We have known for 10 or 15 years how we were going to finish the show and have always talked about it. Then, when we were writing episode six, we swerved ourselves and changed the ending.

We were laughing and quite surprised as we'd had this idea of how it would end for years. Out the window it went and we put in a new ending.

FK: Yeah, we threw the 'Craiglang residents go to outer space' thing out fairly quickly … We did have an ending but couldn't bring ourselves to do it properly and changed it.

GH: It has to feel right. We feel the way we are ending it is the right way.

Do they think about the viewers' reaction when writing?

FK: There has always been a bit of poignancy in the show. We don't want to leave them with a bad taste in the mouth or wanting and longing for us to come back. We have tried to be as even-handed as we can be so everybody is happy and sad at the same time.

There are some big guest star names in this final series, including Line Of Duty actor Martin Compston and music legend Midge Ure. Was there a wish list?

GH: It is always to do with the story. We don't put people in for the sake of it because I think that way lies ruin. We had a particular storyline that required those people and when they all said yes, we were chuffed.

FK: I would say 99.99 per cent of anyone who has ever guest-starred on the show has been Scottish. I think they all have Scottish heritage, apart from Kevin Whately.

GH: When Midge Ure came onto set – they brought him on when we were filming in Navid's – everyone burst into spontaneous applause. We were all so excited to see him.

Hemphill is called back on to set, so Kiernan continues on his own ...

Is this really the end for Still Game?

FK: We are finished with the TV. We can see the border and there doesn't seem to be a wall.

You could come back in 30 years. There would be no need for the make-up and prosthetics?

FK: Thirty years? I'll be deid. I'm 56. I'm not going to last until I'm 86. You're joking? I'm on 40 a day.

Is there anything about Still Game drawing to a close that feels like a positive?

FK: There is a sadness attached to it. On and off we have been playing these characters for 20 years. I was 36 when we started doing this – now I'm almost the same age as the guy I am supposed to be playing.

I will be sad to see it go, but we have had a right laugh doing it and plenty of stories to tell and dinners to speak at. I don't mean appearing at dinners, but you know, speaking over the top of a plate of mince to the wife.

What part of the costume would you like to keep as a memento?

FK: Well, the incontinence pads, I might hold on to … No, I don't want any of it. But I know I will end up looking like this.

Some of the tank tops are actually quite fancy. They get them from all over now, but for the original programmes they came from flea markets. Is that a mark of success? It's recorded in HD now so you would be able to see the fleas.

Hemphill saunters back over to join us.

Do you have a favourite scene?

GH: I like the episode "Drama" where Jack and Victor go to the distillery.

FK: I like "Fly Society" where Jack and Victor pretend that they are magnates in the beetroot business in order to get an invite to a manor house.

Some of the best laughs we've had have been off camera and corpsing where everybody has had to down tools because of the snickering. That started on day one.

I think as time goes by that will be my abiding memory of this show, the outbursts and terrible off-colour language that went on behind the scenes and will forever be kept in a drawer.

Was it hard telling the other cast members that Still Game was coming to an end?

GH: No. Because I don't think Ford and I are the only ones who felt it was the right time for the show to finish. Everyone collectively felt it. It has been 62 episodes. It's that thing about bringing sitcoms back; it is a tightrope and a difficult thing to do.

We were lucky to get everybody back for the time that we have. We feel very fortunate that the BBC got behind it and gave us a second run. But it is that thing of leaving the stage at the right time – you don't wait for the big candy cane hook to come on and drag you off.

What lies beyond this in terms of other projects?

FK: Oblivion.

GH: Golf, drinking whisky and fishing in Florida.

Hemphill has said he has an eye on directing a horror movie while Kiernan says he's always fancied being a TV detective. Is that on the cards?

GH: We have all sorts of plans. Things that Ford wants to do, things that I want to do, things we want to do together – it is an exciting time. We have worked together an awful long time and so we are not going to stop working together.

Time for one last question. As Still Game abdicates the comedy throne, what can take its place?

FK: The goal is wide open.

GH: Make no mistake, when this show ends, it won't just be somebody else's job – we will be in the mix trying to find something to top it as well.

FK: Good point. That is exactly what we are going to do.

GH: We are not riding off into the sunset. I don't know if it can be done, but we are going to give it a damn good try.

Still Game begins on the new BBC Scotland channel next Sunday (February 24) at 9pm. Further episodes will be shown on Thursday nights at 10pm

A Life in Still Game with Greg Hemphill and Ford Kiernan is at Glasgow Film Festival on February 26