KELTY HEARTS manager Barry Ferguson is to leave the club.

This evening, the New Central Park club have announced that the 43-year-old will not renew his contract with them, just 24 hours after leading them into the SPFL for the first time in their history.

A 1-0 win at Brechin City completed a 3-1 aggregate victory in the League Two play-off final, meaning Kelty will play in League Two next season.

However, speculation over Ferguson's future began to surface this afternoon, with suggestions that he had informed the club he was set to leave, with Alloa Athletic a potential destination.

Following the win at Glebe Park, Ferguson was coy on plans for next season, and told Press Sport that "whatever happens in the future, I'll always remember this moment".

READ MORE: Barry Ferguson reacts to Kelty Hearts' promotion

In a statement, Kelty said they would be "forever grateful" to the former Rangers and Scotland captain for delivering back-to-back Lowland League titles and SPFL football.

They commented: "Following yesterday’s SPFL League 2 Play Off victory, club manager Barry Ferguson has advised the board that he will not be extending his stay at the club on completion of his current contract at the end of May.

"Everyone at the club would like to thank Barry and his management team for their undoubted efforts and commitment during his three year stay at the club. A period in which the club’s aim and remit of SPFL football was achieved by Barry and his staff following back to back Lowland League titles which we will be forever grateful for. We wish Barry and Bob (Malcolm, assistant manager) all the very best in their next move, they will always have a warm welcome at New Central Park.

"The work has begun on a securing a new management team where we shall look to make a swift appointment to get us ready for the big season ahead. The club will release further statements and keep supporters updated as the situation develops."

Following the departure of Thomas Courts, who guided the club to two East Region Super League titles as a junior club, and to promotion from the East of Scotland to the Lowland League in 2018, Ferguson was appointed as manager in October of that year.

Kelty finished third in that season but, last year, they were crowned champions on a points per game average as the campaign was curtailed because of COVID-19.

He guided his team to the top of the division this time around and, after it was suspended in January, and subsequently brought to a halt once more, they were again declared Lowland League champions on a points per game basis.

Whilst a pyramid play-off with Highland League champions, Brora Rangers, was scrapped last term, it was played this time around, with Kelty winning 6-1 on aggregate.

That set up their tie with Brechin, who finished bottom of League Two, and their promotion.

At the end of the match at Glebe Park, Ferguson said: "My emotions are all over the place if I’m being honest with you.

"What can I say – it’s been a long road. It’s been a long 33 months but I knew if we kept at it, and I was building a good team, that if we got that opportunity to get into the play-off we would take it.

"It wasn’t great today, I’ll be honest with you. It was a hard watch – you’d probably seen that yourself – but even at that, we could’ve won the game by three or four goals and we played well below our standards. But I’m just delighted.

"I'm delighted for everybody. I'm delighted for my staff, who have put up with me, I'm delighted for the players - I scream and bawl and shout at them, but they've been absolutely brilliant.

"They're a special group and, whatever happens in the future, I'll always remember this moment."