JOE CARDLE believes that joining Kelty Hearts ticks the right boxes and is excited to help them make a mark in the SPFL.

The former Pars star, 34, joined the New Central Park club on Tuesday, putting pen to paper on a two-year contract after Partick Thistle decided against offering him a new deal after winning League One.

He joins a Kelty side preparing for their first ever season in League Two – under the leadership of new manager Kevin Thomson – and is reunited with former East End team-mate Kallum Higginbotham.

Cardle, who still lives in Dunfermline, where he has been running his own coaching academy for the last 11 months, admitted to being disappointed at leaving Thistle but told Press Sport exclusively that discussions with Thomson made him sure of his next move.

"It only came about on Friday afternoon," he explained.

"I spoke to the guys behind the scenes and they asked me to come in and have a chat with the manager on Saturday. I came in, had a chat, and it went really well.

"Obviously, with the academy as well working hand in hand, I think the part-time option was probably best for me and the family. The opportunity to come to Kelty, which is basically on my doorstep, and is a club that's pushing in the right direction, is exciting.

"I'm looking forward to the next two years to be honest, so it's an exciting time ahead.

"It's taken me the weekend to sit back and think of everything that comes with it but, as I said, with the academy taking off massively in the last year, it works hand in hand.

"I'm excited, I'm excited to be here. There's some good players – I've just met a few of the players there, and I obviously know the likes of Higginbotham, and have played against a lot of the boys in my career as well.

"It's just great to be part of what the club are trying to achieve here and hopefully I can play my part as well."

Cardle, who joked that he's long been linked with a move to Kelty, continued: "It's came at a good time in my career and, as I said, it's not a case where I'm going to down tools.

"I'm looking forward to kicking on again and hopefully doing what the club want to do and go up the leagues even more.

"I've always kept my eye on them over the last two or three years. It's a club that I've always looked out for, and I think every window for the last two or three years, everyone seems to think I was going to be signing anyway, so it's finally came that day!

"The amount of people I get tweeting me, and obviously seeing people in the street, who have said, 'You signing for Kelty?' – it's finally came!

"I've actually signed for Kelty so I'm just looking forward to the new task in hand, new chapter in my career, and I'm excited about the prospect of playing with some good players and hopefully challenging for this League Two.

"You've got to be excited. I know a few of the boys and I'm looking forward to training and playing under the manager. I met him on Saturday and, as I said, he said all the right things. I know Geordie (Kevin McDonald) the assistant too and a few of the guys behind the scenes, so it's a great club.

"They've got good people involved and the drive that they've got to push the club even higher is incredible.

"I'm just looking forward to the next couple of years playing my part."