ELATED Thomas Courts says Kelty Hearts have given themselves a “phenomenal platform” to grow even further after winning Lowland League promotion.

And the New Central Park boss has vowed that his stars will not simply be content with making up the numbers when they make the step up to the fifth tier.

After winning the East of Scotland League title, Kelty faced South of Scotland counterparts Threave Rovers for a Lowland League slot and sealed their place in style.

Leading 4-0 from the first game, Ross Philp’s fourth-minute opener with a cross-cum shot gave the hosts the lead in Saturday’s return before Brian Ritchie’s header from Stephen Husband’s free kick 11 minutes later put the tie beyond doubt.

Ritchie added his second two minutes later before a Husband free kick, Scott Dalziel’s header and Ritchie’s hat-trick goal – all before the break – ensured Kelty went up in style.

Speaking to Press Sport after the match, Courts was thrilled with his team’s performance – and can’t wait for a crack at teams like Spartans, East Kilbride and East Stirlingshire next season.

“I thought, first 45, is probably the best performance we’ve had all season,” he said.

“I can’t recall us actually giving the ball away or making a poor decision; it was just like everything we touched went to a Kelty jersey or we created a chance.

“Hopefully, the people who came along to watch that were treated to a fantastic football performance, and that’s us now in the Lowland League.

“I think it’s phenomenal. I said to the boys that we all put our careers on the line by coming into this league. There’s been a multitude of challenges, some positive, and some where we’ve had to show a wee bit of togetherness and unity, but it’s just a phenomenal platform now for the club to grow and grow, make itself more sustainable and showcase itself on a bigger stage as well.

“For me, it’s a great carrot for the players and the club, and we’re really looking forward to it.”

Kelty’s success is a far cry from when they turned to Courts, then the club captain, to lead them in October 2013 after a winless start to their East Region Super League junior campaign.

They avoided relegation after a play-off with Dalkeith Thistle before going on to win the title in two of the next three seasons before the club made the move into the senior pyramid at the end of last season.

With a community club, featuring a women’s side and kids’ teams of a variety of ages, having also been created, the club’s progress has been striking and Courts is determined his players will continue it.

“We’ve always talked about being a community club, and I think you’ve seen that,” he continued.

“We’ve got homegrown players, and players who have been at the club for a number of years, and there’s still more in the tank for these boys yet.

“I think it is about savouring the moment but I think any league we go into, we give it respect.

“Spartans are the current champions and there’s some good teams there, so we just try to earn the right to win every single game of football, and that will take us to an eventual league position.

“But we want to win more games than we drop any points, let alone lose, so for us, we’ll give total respect but, equally, will go in there with an open mind as to what we can achieve.”