KEVIN THOMSON has said that Kelty Hearts' unbeaten run was "irrelevant" but was nevertheless delighted to see his team bounce back from it coming to an end.

A Joe Cardle brace, which followed Nathan Austin's first-half opener, earned the League Two leaders a comfortable 3-0 win at Stirling Albion on Saturday, a result which maintains their seven-point advantage over nearest challengers Forfar Athletic.

With their scheduled home derby with Cowdenbeath on January 2 being called off due to COVID-19 issues affecting the Blue Brazil, this outing at Forthbank was their first since their first league defeat of the campaign at Annan Athletic on Boxing Day.

Although he said he'll "never apologise for wanting more" in terms of performance, it was a result that pleased Thomson, who explained that outside interest and excitement in going 16 games without defeat hadn't affected his stars.

"The unbeaten run was irrelevant for us really," he told Press Sport.

"We prepare to win every game, we try and win every game. I think anyone will know that if they have an insight into Kelty. The subs that we make, the type of team that we play, the players that we sign – we always want to attack.

"We played with three strikers against Dundee United (in the Premier Sports Cup), first game of the season, live on the telly. A lot of people would maybe drop one, play an extra midfielder and try and stifle things. It's what I believe in and I'm happy to take responsibility if we fail."

They certainly didn't fail against the Binos, on what was a difficult pitch, which Thomson dismissed as an "excuse" in relation to his team's display.

"I'm just greedy; I want more," he continued.

"I thought we showed glimpses of quality but, at the same time, it was really scrappy. I thought Stirling were better than us, to be honest. All credit to them; they are full of energy. I never thought they caused us loads of problems but, in open play, they had the lion's share of the ball and picked up a lot of second balls.

"A couple of times, when they played big switches and flicked it on, it caused us as wee bit of animosity in the back four. You could then argue that we dealt with it quite well but I just would've liked us to impose what we do a wee bit more. I think, when we did show the quality that we've got, we scored good goals and could've scored more.

"But, at the same time, I certainly wouldn't disrespect Darren Young. I thought his team were really well organised and I thought it was a wee bit smash and grab for us.

"I have no excuses; we're capable of passing the ball on it, we're capable of taking touches, we're capable of looking after it, we're capable of making good decisions. I don't want to be too hard because it's not the way I live my life, I'm fair, but at the same time I'll never apologise for wanting more."

Thomson, who revealed that some of his squad had to isolate prior to the Stirling match, said that Jamie Barjonas and Dougie Hill – who were substituted with injuries – are likely to miss Saturday's visit of Edinburgh City but hoped they would not be long-term absentees.

He did, however, hand on-loan Livingston midfielder Harrison Clark his debut from the bench, and a first start since the opening day of the League Two season to Thomas Reilly, who has recovered from a broken ankle.

"Harrison came on and he gives us a different dimension," Thomson said.

"He's a young boy, he's quite raw and I think the way we play will allow him to develop because he'll get a lot of the ball. He'll spend more time on the ball than he probably has done at previous clubs. He obviously did play against us in the Premier Sports Cup, so he caught our eye.

"We always like that, a younger one to try and help develop, and we're always thankful to the Premiership clubs for using us as a platform for their young players to come out.

"Tam Reilly coming back into the team; he's had to be patient. At the same time, it looks as though he's had a wee bump on his ankle again, so we're hoping he'll be OK, but to get him back in the fold and put pressure on the boys that have been in the team is great for us."

The Kelty boss, who was interviewed by the Open Goal Podcast, released this week, giving a fascinating insight into his working methods, expects a tough match with Edinburgh.

"They're another hard team, they've given us problems," he added.

"I thought we were very very good to be fair on the Friday night when we played them through there (a 3-2 win in October), but the game when we beat them 1-0 in the early part of the season, I thought first half we were terrific, and then second half I thought they were better.

"We've done our homework, we know all about them, we'll look forward to it and try to win the game."