Lowland League:

Kelty Hearts 0 East Kilbride 1

KELTY HEARTS were denied the chance to leap to the Lowland League summit after their record-breaking unbeaten run came to an end on Saturday.

Barry Ferguson's side had not lost a Lowland League fixture since August last year – 26 matches ago – when they were beaten at Cumbernauld Colts but East Kilbride ended that sequence in a tight match at New Central Park.

The hosts, boosted pre-match by the loan signing of Dundee United centre back Nathan Cooney, 18, until January and a contract extension penned by midfielder Ross Philp, were protecting the only 100 per cent start in the division.

East Kilbride, featuring former Pars pair Paul Paton and Steven Bell, were also unbeaten but Kelty had their chances in the first half.

Kallum Higginbotham, who also had a smart shot on the turn saved, sent an early header just wide of Conor Brennan's goal while Philp and skipper Michael Tidser, rattling the bar with a free kick, also came close.

The visitors were not without opportunities themselves, with Ricky Miller and Bell both heading over, but they grabbed the lead in the 67th minute.

Chris Erskine helped the ball inside to the onrushing Paul Woods, whose shot across goal from eight yards came back off the post, falling kindly for Kyle Wilkie to net from the rebound.

Kelty's last home defeat on league business came against East Kilbride, in April 2019, and they almost responded immediately when Higginbotham, with the goal at his mercy from Dylan Easton's centre, couldn't hit the target.

They couldn't find a leveller and, having played a game less, their opponents now lead the table by four points.

On Tuesday evening, meanwhile, Kelty drew with Peterhead in their penultimate Betfred Cup, Group C match.

Gary Fraser gave the Blue Toon, who won the bonus point after a penalty shoot-out success, the lead before Jamie Stevenson equalised.

East of Scotland League, Premier Division:

Hill of Beath Hawthorn 0 Inverkeithing Hillfield Swifts 4

INVERKEITHING Hillfield Swifts earned their first Premier Division win in style with an outstanding success at Hill of Beath Hawthorn.

Ynyr Liddell's double, together with strikes from Steven Slimmings and Cai MacDonald, gave Grant Brough's side their maiden maximum since winning promotion against a Haws outfit that had won four of their first six games.

Brough was adamant that, despite losing their first four and conceding 17 goals, Swifts' performances had been better than their results suggested and his belief was rewarded with a coupon-busting result.

They made a dream start at Keir's Park when, following a good team move, Liddell reacted to a loose ball in the penalty area to send a terrific effort into the top corner of the net after only three minutes.

It got better for the visitors five minutes before the interval when Slimmings sent a looping header home after connecting with a cross from the left, and there was still time before the break for Macaulay Jarrett to save Lyle Kellichan's penalty.

With 20 minutes left, Liddell finished off a good move down the left before MacDonald, pouncing on a goalkeeping spill, wrapped up a memorable Swifts victory ahead of their clash at Sauchie last night (Wednesday).

"I thought the boys were excellent," Brough said.

"We got an early goal and it made the world of difference to them. We've gradually got better and better every single game; we get the early goal this week, and then you could see the confidence go through the team. It was well deserved.

"I don't think you could've got a harder start really to be honest but it was a great effort. When you consider that Hill of Beath are a top side, to go along there and win 4-0 is brilliant.

"The most pleasing thing was how we played as a team. The games have been a lot tighter than maybe the scorelines have reflected, and it was good this week to be on the good side of it.

"We needed that, just that wee bit of belief to say we can do it, and we are good enough, because we are."

On Wednesday evening, Swifts travelled to Sauchie, but were on the wrong end of a 5-0 defeat.

East of Scotland League, Premier Division:

Crossgates Primrose 0 Dundonald Bluebell 0

ALAN CAMPBELL is hopeful that Saturday's derby stalemate can provide the springboard for an upturn in fortunes for Crossgates Primrose.

A run of three successive defeats, in which they conceded 10 goals and only netted two of their own, came to an end against Dundonald Bluebell as they earned a first clean sheet of the season.

Campbell reflected: "It was a tough game. It was a bit of a battle and I think both teams cancelled each other out. I would say a draw was probably a fair result; it was a typical derby game played in conditions that weren't great this time of the year, so it was a bit low on quality, but I thought both teams worked ever so hard.

"We've worked a lot over the last couple of weeks on our defensive set-up so we were pleased that came off, and it's now at the top end of the pitch we need to just put a wee bit more work in, and hopefully it will all come together."

On Wednesday evening, Primrose travelled to Blackburn United and recorded their first win of the season, with Scott Lawrie's 17th minute penalty proving decisive.

East of Scotland League, First Division, Conference A:

Rosyth 7 Arniston Rangers 0

RAMPANT Rosyth found themselves in seventh heaven on Saturday as they thrashed Arniston Rangers to remain hot on the heels of the league leaders.

Brian Muirhead's team, in their first season within the East of Scotland League, scored four in a devastating first half that also saw the visitors reduced to 10 men.

The contest was just two-minutes-old when Mikey McMillan put the hosts ahead and, after they spurned a few opportunities, Liam Queen doubled their advantage midway through the half.

Within 60 seconds, they had added a third when an Arniston player was unfortunate to put through his own net and, after Gregg Page made it four in 34 minutes, the visitors' Gary Nicholson saw red for a second bookable offence after kicking the ball away following the half-time whistle.

Sean Johnstone got in on the act with Rosyth's fifth before Page grabbed his second, with another own goal, this time from Scott Ritchie, made it a magnificent seven for the hosts.

The result leaves Rosyth with 15 points from seven matches and two points behind early pacesetters Haddington Athletic.

"Right off the bat we set the tempo really high," Muirhead commented.

"We've scored 29 in seven games, so we're always going to create chances with the way we set up the team. We dealt with everything; we won 7-0 and we gave Man of the Match to the two centre halves. It was just a great platform to build from because we were winning the ball high up the park. It was pretty comfortable but that stemmed from the start."


East of Scotland League, First Division, Conference B:

Oakley United 1 Luncarty 3

OAKLEY UNITED missed the chance to go clear at the top of the table after Luncarty brought their winning start to an end.

Stewart Kenny's men had notched up five victories from as many games to sit second behind Heriot-Watt University on goal difference, and would have reached the summit with victory after the students lost to Easthouses Lily.

However, the Perthshire side, who Kenny said pre-match would provide a tough test, took a 34th-minute lead through Sean Fergus, before Craig Mitchell doubled it five minutes later.

Craig Martin gave the Blairwood Park men hope when he halved the arrears with just over 20 minutes to go, but a stoppage-time own goal sealed their fate.

Kenny, whose team remain second and level on points with new pacesetters Newburgh, said: "To be honest, it wasn't a great spectacle for football, but full credit has to go to Luncarty for the way they pressed us for the full 90 minutes.

"From an Oakley point of view, we just never got going. The players knew what we thought at half-time as we made two subs, with a change of shape also. This spurred the lads on to get something from the game, and credit to them getting the goal back through Craig Martin, however, Luncarty held strong and minimised our chances before catching us on the break late on, resulting in an own goal.

"We have more tough games coming every week so we just have to put it behind us and create a positive week ahead."

l Saturday's fixtures: Betfred Cup, Group C – Brechin City v Kelty Hearts (3pm). East of Scotland League, Premier Division – Inverkeithing Hillfield Swifts v Newtongrange Star (2pm), Tynecastle v Crossgates Primrose (2.30pm). First Division, Conference A – Dalkeith Thistle v Rosyth (2.30pm). Conference B - Oakley United v Kinnoull (2pm).