"WE CAN'T say that we'll be happy to fight for the title – we need to go and try and win things next year."

Having racked up a haul of 16 domestic winners medals during a decorated playing career, success was something that Barry Ferguson became accustomed to.

In a trophy-laden spell with Rangers, he won the Scottish Premier League title, Scottish Cup and League Cup on five occasions, and the English equivalent of the latter with Birmingham City for good measure.

It's perhaps little surprise, then, that the Kelty Hearts gaffer has his eye on silverware in the coming season – and is targeting the Lowland League title to help the club realise its ambitions.

The New Central Park squad returned for pre-season training last Thursday ahead of July's big kick-off complete with eight new signings and, after sitting down with Press Sport recently, Ferguson believes winning the championship should be their aim.

"We can't say that we'll be happy to fight for the title – we need to go and try and win things next year. It's as simple as that," he commented.

"The boys know that but the boys that I've signed, and the current boys that are here, know we're here to try and win things.

"Second best is not good enough.

"Last season, the club wanted us to finish in the top four, and we managed that, but if I'm being honest, there were better teams in the division than us. The league doesn't lie; East Kilbride were by far the best team in the league, BSC (Glasgow) were really good, Spartans, and East Stirling have made a lot of signings.

"There's a lot of good teams and hard games. It's a difficult league and we just need to make sure we're ready."

Kelty, who will play Kilmarnock Colts in the first round of the Tunnock's Caramel Wafer Challenge Cup, in which they will compete for the first time, have brought in players of the calibre of Inverness' Nathan Austin, Forfar's Thomas Reilly and Dylan Easton, and Spartans' Gary Cennerazzo this summer.

Ferguson continued: "They're not just good players; they're good guys as well and guys that want to put a lot of work into it. That's what I want.

"It doesn't happen overnight. It took a lot of work, obviously meeting players and having chats with them, but eventually I'd set out that I had eight targets, and I got the eight targets that I was interested in and wanted.

"They fit into the style of football but their ages as well was important for me. I wanted to get guys who are going to be here for the long-term and not just a quick fix.

"It was important we tried to get them and, as I say, eventually we did through a lot of hard work, a lot of meetings and a lot of hours put into it.

"But, if you want to try and be successful, that's what you've got to do."