KELTY Hearts were dealt a major blow last night (Thursday) as Thomas Courts resigned from his role as manager.

The club "reluctantly" accepted his resignation and thanked him for his service since taking over in October 2013.

Kelty face East Stirlingshire in the SFA South Challenge Cup on Saturday and the team will now be taken by Murray McDowell and Dave McNeely for the tie.

A club statement said: "Manager Thomas Courts has tonight tendered his resignation which has reluctantly been accepted by the club.

"The board and committee would like to wholeheartedly thank Thomas for his invaluable contributions both as a player and manager over the years."

The 37-year-old signed a long-term deal with the club last year and recently received a testimonial dinner by Kelty last month.

Courts was appointed as the club's player/manager in October 2013 following the sacking of Willie Newbigging and guided the club to Super League safety after a play-off victory over Dalkeith.

He then led Kelty to their first Super League title in the 2014/15 season, his first full campaign in charge, and won the league again in 2016-17, before the club joined the East of Scotland Football League.

They would go on to win the league crown and were promoted to the Lowland League for the first time.

Courts had led the New Central Park side to first place in their maiden Lowland League campaign after defeating Gretna 3-1 on Saturday and told Press Sport on Monday that he had been looking forward to taking on East Stirlingshire this weekend.