KELTY HEARTS secretary Garry Grandison admits not being able to have spectators is the main downside to this weekend’s pyramid play-off second leg tie with Brora Rangers.

After the SFA and SPFL finally gave the play-offs the go-ahead last Thursday, Barry Ferguson’s Lowland League winners made the near 400-mile round trip to Dudgeon Park to face off against their Highland League counterparts on Tuesday.

And, despite incredibly having two penalties saved inside the opening 10 minutes, Kelty will have a 2-0 advantage going into today’s return at New Central Park thanks to Dylan Easton and Kallum Higginbotham.

Although they had been given a professional sport exemption to return to training ahead of the announcement, Ferguson’s men hadn’t played since January 9, when they lost to Stranraer in the Scottish Cup.

By contrast, Steven Mackay’s Brora – who were beaten in the very first pyramid play-off final, by Montrose, in 2015 – had played as recently as April 3, when they were knocked out of the Scottish Cup by Stranraer in round three, havingbeaten Heart of Midlothian memorably in round two.

However, in a frantic start, the visitors had two opportunities to score from the spot, the first of which came in the fourth minute.

Colin Williamson was judged by referee Grant Irvine to have felled Higginbotham four minutes in and, although the Englishman stepped up himself, he was denied by home keeper Joe Malin.

The Brora stopper looked to have turned from hero to villain five minutes later when his foul on Nathan Austin then presented a second 12-yard opportunity for Kelty, but he redeemed himself by saving the striker’s kick.

However, there was nothing he could do in the 22nd minute when Dylan Easton’s fine strike put the visitors ahead, before a third penalty – this time for handball – was tucked away by Higginbotham early in the second half.

Although Kelty keeper Darren Jamieson produced a fine save to deny Mark Nicolson, and Austin twice came close late on to adding a third, the result puts Kelty in pole position to set up a tie with Brechin City for a place in SPFL League Two next season.

Grandison noted: “The downside again is that we’re not going to be allowed anyone inside the ground to witness it.

“It’s these sorts of games that deserve spectators.

“We’ve got a loyal band of spectators who follow the club religiously, home and away, and they’ve obviously contributed to the club to help us be successful over the last couple of years.

“It would’ve been better to have them in the ground to witness it as well because they’ve been part of the journey as much as we have.”

Saturday’s second leg kicks off at 3pm and will be streamed live on Kelty Hearts TV.

Press Sport will also be at New Central Park to cover the action, with a report and reaction to follow in Thursday's print edition.