SIGNING for his hometown club has resulted in familiar faces cheering him on but Kelty Hearts have provided Craig Johnston with the fresh start he feels he needed.

The 28-year-old, who is from the village, left Montrose after six years to sign for Michael Tidser's side during the summer, and netted his first league goal for the club in Saturday's draw with Annan Athletic.

Forward Johnston, who began his career with Cowdenbeath, had a short loan stint at New Central Park during the 2013/14 campaign - when Kelty were still a junior outfit, playing in the East Region Super League - and reckons he has a point to prove now he has come back "a bit more experienced".

"For me, it means quite a lot because I've been here all my life," he told Press Sport.

"I'll know half the people that are watching me - I'll pass them in the street and I'll know exactly who they are!

"I want to try and impress every time I'm here, and every game to be fair. Every game's the same, but for me it's a wee bit different for me, being from here.

"I came on loan about 10 years ago. I came on loan for six months, and it was alright, but I was a different player back then. I was so young.

"Coming back now, I felt I had a wee bit of a point to prove, being older and being a bit more experienced. I still think like that every game.

"I'm really enjoying it. It was a fresh start I needed. I was at Montrose six years, and it was really good, I enjoyed it, but for me personally, I needed a fresh start, and this is exactly what I've got here.

"I've got the backing of the manager as well, which is good for me."

During the summer, player/boss Tidser told Press Sport that Johnston was "one of the first players that I wanted to try and get in the door" and, emphasising his belief in the player, said "I know for a fact he'll cause defenders problems".

His link-up play and work alongside the likes of fellow attackers, such as Tiwi Daramola, Ross Cunningham and Botti Biabi, has been a key component of Kelty's promising start to the campaign.

He netted three goals in their Viaplay Cup group stage campaign - which saw them beat Edinburgh City and Stranraer, as well as winning a penalty shoot-out bonus point win over Ross County, after a 3-3 draw - and is hopeful more will follow in League One, which sees Kelty sitting fifth with seven points from five matches.

"From the minute I've came in, he's backed me," Johnston said of Tidser.

"He'll speak to you in training, he'll speak to you on the park, or he'll take you away and get your opinion. He's involved with you, which is good.

"I feel like I could speak to him if I need to, and he'll feel like that with me, so it's good. I'm impressed with how he's handling everything."

Johnston was also relieved to net his first league strike against Annan, finishing off Biabi's through pass with cool, clinical finish.

"I got three in the cup, so it was a good start for me, but I was actually thinking this morning that I need to get up-and-running in the league, because it plays on your mind a wee bit, the more it goes," he added post-match.

"It was good for me and, obviously, when you score as well, it's frustrating not to get the three points because it means more.

I was thinking 'it's game five now and I've still not scored', so I actually said to myself I need to get one today! The gaffer spoke to me through the week as well and said I need to be a wee bit more selfish.

"Having him behind you and telling you things like that is good for the confidence as well, so I felt quite confident running through I was going to take it."