KELTY HEARTS have begun preparations for next season under their new manager by announcing the departures of nine squad members.

The New Central Park outfit have, however, revealed that experienced defender, Jason Thomson, has agreed a new contract to remain with the club.

Yesterday, the League One side officially unveiled Michael Tidser as their new manager, with the team's captain taking over from John Potter, who has joined Raith Rovers as technical director.

READ MORE: Kelty Hearts officially unveil new boss

He joined Dean McKenzie and Andrew Barrowman, who held the roles of general manager and managing director, and sporting director, at Kelty, in moving to Stark's Park.

Forward, Alfredo Agyeman, who will join Falkirk for next season, and club stalwart, Ross Philp, had already been set to leave New Central Park - and they will be joined by other, high profile names.

READ MORE: Kelty forward set for summer move

Former Pars stars Joe Cardle and Kallum Higginbotham, key players in the side that won the League Two title in 2022, are heading off for pastures new, as is midfielder, Jamie Barjonas.

Veteran defender Dougie Hill - who initially retired after the League Two success, but re-registered as a player after being brought back to the club as part of Potter's coaching team - is also leaving, as is ex-Dunfermline defender, Lewis Martin, and full back, Reis Peggie.

Goalkeeper Darren Jamieson - who played for Airdrieonians in their Championship play-off, semi-final, second leg win over Falkirk, and was on the bench for the first leg of the final against Hamilton Academical last night (Wednesday), after signing an emergency loan deal - is also moving on.

Kelty have also confirmed that loan players, Jack Milne, Robbie Leitch, Arron Darge and Kanayo Megwa will return to parent clubs Aberdeen, Cove Rangers, Heart of Midlothian and Hibernian respectively.

As well as tying Thomson, who joined from Arbroath in September, to a new deal, the club have Thomas O'Ware, Nathan Austin, Robbie McNab, Liam Campbell, Finlay Shearer and Scott Cameron under contract, as well as forward, Tiwi Daramola, who signed from Bo'ness Athletic in January, before returning there on loan for the remainder of the season.

Addressing the players leaving after his official unveiling, Tidser said: "In terms of the players that are moving on, it was slightly more difficult, because I was a team-mate, and some of them were my pals as well.

"I had to be honest with them, in terms of the direction the club's nmoving in, and, to be fair, every one of them were great. I spoke to them, whether it was face-to-face, some were on the phone, and I wish them all the best.

"That's football. That's happened to me as a player; sometimes you move on, and that's the best thing for your career. As I say, I wish them all the best, they're a great bunch of boys, but it's now time for me to stamp my own authority on it now, and bring in the players that I feel can take the club forward.

"It's easier said than done, but I'll back myself, as I said, to hopefully get the right players in to kick the club on a wee bit."

The club themselves commented: "We would like to take this opportunity to thank every player for their effort and commitment while playing for Kelty Hearts and we wish everyone well in their new endeavours both on and off the pitch.

"We would like to extend our thanks to Aberdeen, Cove Rangers, Hearts of Midlothian and Hibernian for the Loan of players Milne, Leitch, Darge and Megwa. All of whom progressed well while at New Central Park and helped the club secure a place in League One for next season.

"We would also like to give a special thanks to Ross Philp. Ross initially joined Kelty Hearts in 2012 and would go on to play with Kelty right through from the Juniors Super League to SPFL League One Football, playing a crucial part in many historic games for the club along the way."

On extending his Kelty stay, Thomson added: "Obviously there's been a little bit of change over the last few months, and Michael, as I suppose I need to call him now, rather than Tids, or the gaffer, has taken on the job. I'm delighted to be staying.

"Last season was probably a little bit frustrating, for Kelty as a club. Probably, on a high of coming up last season, and things probably didn't quite pan out as they'd hoped.

"I joined, I think, in September, and picked up a couple of wee injuries that probably didn't allow me to play as much as I'd have liked to, but I'm delighted to be staying to put that right for the upcoming season."

Dunfermline Press: Jason Thomson has signed a new deal with Kelty Hearts.Jason Thomson has signed a new deal with Kelty Hearts. (Image: David Wardle.)