Kelty Hearts completed another step in their match towards the SPFL yesterday with a comprehensive 10-0 promotion play-off aggregate win over Threave Rovers. Kelty won this season's East of Scotland League, qualifying for a play-off against the Threave, champions of the South of Scotland League, with the winners promoted to the Lowland League, Scottish football's fifth tier.
The drive and ambition of Kelty Hearts saw them leave Junior football 12 months ago after winning the East Region Super League in their final season as a Junior club. Moving into the senior game in the sixth tier of the Scottish football pyramid, they won the division with 23 wins from 24 games, scoring 143 goals. There was a strong challenge from Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale, who had won 22 and drawn 1 of their 23 games before the League fixture list provided a final game between the top 2 sides, played last week, with Kelty winning 3-1, securing the title. Here is the final table:
Kelty won the first leg of the play off final last weekend, defeating Threave 4-0. Yesterday's return leg at New Central Park may have lacked the edginess of the final day showdown in the League against Lothian Thistle, but Kelty approached the game as if the first leg had been goalless, scoring 6 times in the first half, with their demoralised visitors failing to mount one decent attack. Goals from Brian Ritchie (3), Stephen Husband, Scott Dalziel and Ross Philp allowed Kelty to enjoy the second half with no pressure, playing some great football and unlucky not to add to their tally.
With more stadium redevelopment due this summer, Kelty's future looks bright. Under the astute management of Thomas Courts, and with a forward-thinking board of directors, the club are progressing in the right way, building towards a future in the top divisions. Next season's Lowland League will provide another new challenge for a club who have a team and a set-up that would be the envy of many clubs in League 1 and 2.
Here is Ben's video vlog from the game yesterday, and below you can also view some photos from the game.
All written, video and photo content by Pars Review.