Kelty Hearts 4 Hill of Beath Hawthorn 1
KELTY HEARTS are closing in on the Super League title after thumping derby rivals Hill of Beath Hawthorn on Saturday.
With two games to go, Thomas Courts’ men lead second-placed Bonnyrigg Rose – who have played three games fewer – by 12 points and could clinch the championship if results go their way this weekend.
If the Jambos win at Linlithgow Rose, and Bonnyrigg fail to take maximum points at Broughty Athletic, that will be enough to open the champagne.
But even if their rivals keep up the chase with three points on Tayside, Kelty will be champions if they win both their remaining matches – the last of which is against Bonnyrigg, who they faced in the East of Scotland Cup quarter-finals on Wednesday night, losing 5-4 on penalties after a 0-0 draw.
Courts is relishing a “big week” for the club and told Press Sport: “Scoring four goals was particularly pleasing as goal difference could still be important and it is almost as good as a point for us just now. If we win on Saturday then we would be in a very strong position going into the final game against Bonnyrigg but if we win and they slip up, it would be a sensational Saturday.
“It represents a massive opportunity, although against a tough opponent, and I hope it is highly motivational for the players. It’s in our hands.”
They had to do things the hard way against the Haws, who took the lead through Callum Adamson, but responded like champions to record a fifth win from five meetings with their rivals this season.
Celtic and Scotland captain Scott Brown – who is from Hill of Beath – was there to watch and he must have been impressed at the turnaround from Courts’ team.
The visitors, who parted company with manager Bobby Wilson after the game, took a shock fifth-minute lead when Aaron Hay sent Adamson clear to finish, but the hosts hit back just three minutes later when Sean O’Neil bulleted home a header.
Neil McCabe’s close-range finish quickly put Kelty in front before Brian Ritchie made it 3-1 with a textbook header after just 24 minutes.
The visitors’ day also got worse when Stuart Hall conceded a penalty but the keeper atoned for his foul by saving the spot-kick, only for his team to go down to 10 men when Hay was red-carded.
Stephen Husband rounded things off with Kelty’s fourth a minute after the break, and Courts commented: “I think we have a champions mentality and Saturday proved that. I thought the lads were in control of the situation; once they scored I thought, ‘Here we go’, but to be fair to the players, they dealt with it exceptionally well.
“There was a gulf in class towards the end and I do think we’re stronger than them in every department – the results testifies to that. It was a great performance and three points.”
The club are running free buses for fans to cheer them on at Linlithgow on Saturday and seats can be booked by calling 07727496124.
Rosyth 6 Stoneyburn 2
ROSYTH made it three wins from three since returning to Recreation Park by hitting Stoneyburn for six on Saturday.
Barry Cockburn’s team returned to their own pitch last month after three months of playing at other venues and they’re proving there’s no place like home, hitting 13 goals in the process of claiming nine points.
The helpless visitors were given the same treatment as Crossgates Primrose, who slipped to a 6-2 loss at Rosyth last month, as the home side produced some excellent football despite being without John McDairmid, Scott Gilfillan and Dean Ogg.
Rosyth started strongly but fell behind when Joe Brady guided a cross home via the post, but they were soon level when Stevie Slimmings picked out Tam Hampson, who cut back onto his right foot before slotting it beyond the goalkeeper.
Blair Duff won a 32nd minute penalty – converted by Hampson – to give the Rec a 2-1 half-time lead, which could have been extended further had the woodwork not denied Mark McCulloch.
Stoneyburn drew level three minutes after the restart but the home advantage was restored in 65 minutes when Greg Page headed home Evan Stanfield’s cross.
Page added his second five minutes later and a fifth goal was netted 10 minutes from time through Stanfield, who drove into the box before rifling home from eight yards.
The final word went to Page, who raced onto a through pass to slot under the keeper to seal a well-deserved hat-trick.
Cockburn commented: “We’re playing some great stuff at the moment and we put on a show which was fantastic to watch. We looked fantastic in every area and one of the most pleasing things is we showed character when we needed to. After playing so well and creating a lot we were at 2-2 just after half-time but we showed a new resolve and team spirit which is now allowing us to go on and win games that we might have drawn or lost before.
“Everyone is pulling in the same direction and are finishing the season on a high. We want to give ourselves the best possible platform to start from next season.”
Crossgates Primrose 1 Lochgelly Albert 3
MANAGERLESS Primrose were unable to end their season with a win but club officials were full of praise for their players’ commitment.
Lochgelly Albert proved too strong at Humbug Park on Saturday and Primrose fell behind after only 15 minutes.
Crossgates hit back nine minutes from the break when young centre back Andy McDonald headed home from a corner but, despite keeper Stuart Allan pulling off an excellent close-range save, they fell behind right on half-time.
Lochgelly sealed the win with 10 minutes left and chairman Frazer Martin said: “It has been a difficult end to the season with injuries, meaning that we’ve not had the full quota of players available on match days. However, it is a squad game and we’ve managed to muster a team that have continued to give 110 per cent and Saturday was no different.
“We are mainly a young team who will learn and improve with this season’s experience under their belts.”
The club is still looking for a physiotherapist to assist and anyone interested should call 07423944278.
Saturday’s fixtures (kick-offs 2.30pm): McBookie.com Super League – Linlithgow Rose v Kelty Hearts. McBookie.com South Division – Rosyth v Livingston United.