ENSURING a pathway to senior football for their young stars convinced Inverkeithing Hillfield Swifts to go for East of Scotland League membership.

And the club's chairman is convinced that the creation of a team to play in Scottish football's pyramid system is an exciting proposition that will help the club mould more stars of the future.

Craig Reid, who stepped into the role in March after Eddie Spence stood down to take on the role of honourary president, said that being able to give the Swifts kids a platform to showcase their talent as adults is why they have made the move for next season.

The Ballast Bank club, which was established in 1996, have joined Crossgates Primrose, Hill of Beath Hawthorn, Blackburn United, Bonnyrigg Rose, Camelon Juniors, Dalkeith Thistle, Dunipace, Easthouses Lily, Edinburgh United, Haddington Athletic, Musselburgh Athletic and Tranent Juniors in being accepted into the East of Scotland League.

It means that they will field a team in the sixth tier of Scotland's senior set-up, while an under-20 side has also been set up.

A registered charity and an SFA quality-marked community football club, the Swifts have around 450 registered boys and girls playing at age levels from mini-kickers up to under-17s.

It's an exciting prospect for Craig, who told Press Sport: "This is the whole reason why we moved to the East of Scotland League; the progression of the kids and our members.

"We're developing a high calibre of player and some are playing at a high level in Edinburgh (South East Region Youth Football Association).

"In our initial chats with Lee (Richardson, senior team manager), we said it's about you and Andrew Penman, who will take our under-20s, continuing the progression of the kids.

"Some guys could stay to play walking football; maybe, in years to come, we could have a player who has been there for 30 years.

"There is now a credible option for a player to stay with the club."

Former Swifts who have gone on to play at senior level include former Cowdenbeath and Raith Rovers hitman Greig Spence and Hearts' Scotland under-21 full back Liam Smith, while Hibernian's Scottish and League cup-winning stalwart Lewis Stevenson helps coach their 2012 team.

Craig continued: "If we can get kids moving into the senior team, then they could get other opportunities and we will be doing our bit for Scottish football.

"We could have the best part of 40 players coming through for the managers to pick from and, maybe from the ages of 18-22, they could get opportunities elsewhere.

"It's a hell of an undertaking but it's the biggest thing we could do."

The club are scheduled to play their first game in the East of Scotland League on July 28 and, with support from Fife Council and in collaboration with the Inverkeithing Highland Games and community council, are undertaking work to upgrade their pitch to meet league criteria.