KELTY HEARTS hitman Nathan Austin has rejoined former club East Fife on a short-term loan ahead of League One restarting this weekend.

The 27-year-old, who grew up in nearby Leven, has signed for the New Bayview side, who are managed by former Pars midfielder Darren Young, until March 31 as uncertainty remains over his parent club's campaign.

On March 2, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced that matches in the Scottish Cup, SPFL League One and League Two, and Scottish Women's Premier League (SWPL) One, could resume after they were suspended on January 11.

All football beneath the SPFL Championship – which, alongside the top flight, was allowed to continue if PCR testing was carried out – was brought to a halt because of concerns over rising COVID-19 cases.

Although League One, League Two, SWPL One and Scottish Cup fixtures can resume with testing carried out once a week, the Lowland League – of which Kelty are top and reigning champions – remains on hold.

So far, there has been no indication if they will be able to return to action and complete the season, which has enabled Austin to make the temporary switch from Barry Ferguson's side.

The striker was playing amateur football when then East Fife boss, Willie Aitchison, snapped him up and became a firm favourite with the Methil outfit's supporters.

In three years at New Bayview between 2013 and 2016, Austin netted 43 goals in 107 appearances, and was part of their League Two title-winning side in the 2015/16 campaign.

That led to Falkirk, then in the Championship, making a move for his services and, during a near two-year spell with the Bairns, he scored 12 goals in 44 games.

After leaving the Falkirk Stadium in December 2017, he moved north to Inverness Caledonian Thistle, where he scored 13 times in 47 games before returning to Fife to join Kelty in the summer of 2019.

Even though the season was curtailed, Austin hit the net an incredible 48 times in all competitions last season, and had scored 11 times so far this time around before the season was halted.

On Tuesday, clubs were given until April 23 to complete 18 fixtures which, if met by all clubs in each division, would allow fixtures for a split to be published.

If any clubs are unable to complete their 18 fixtures by that date, post-split fixture dates for that division would then be used to ensure that every club has completed 18 matches by May 6, in time for participation in promotion and relegation play-offs.

Austin goes into East Fife's squad for Saturday's game at Clyde and will also be available for games with Cove Rangers and Montrose.