FIELDING a senior side for this season has marked a first for Inverkeithing Hillfield Swifts.

The club, which was formed in 1996, successfully applied for East of Scotland League membership in April and played their first competitive game, against Hill of Beath Hawthorn on July 28, in front of more than 200 fans at Ballast Bank.

Managed by former Oakley United and Rosyth boss Lee Richardson, the new team – along with another at under-20 level – was established to provide a complete pathway for players beginning at mini-kickers all the way through to senior level.

Formed by Eddie Spence, who earlier this year stepped down as chairman to take on the role of honorary president, the Swifts have around 450 registered boys and girls playing at age groups up to under-17 and amateur.

They are a registered charity and an SFA quality-marked community football club and former players that have gone on to play professionally include Alloa Athletic hitman Greig Spence, and Ayr United’s Scotland under-21 full back Liam Smith, while Hibernian’s Scottish and League cup-winning stalwart, Lewis Stevenson, helps coach their 2012 team.

Richardson, who recruited long-time assistant John Steel to be his number two, embarked on assembling a completely new squad ahead of their maiden campaign and signings have included former Rosyth pair Ryan O’Connor and Lee Duffy.

After losing 4-0 to Hill of Beath in their first East of Scotland Qualifying League section match, Swifts earned their first win with a 5-3 success at Stirling University (EOSFL) but exited the competition after a heavy defeat to Bonnyrigg Rose.

Their Alex Jack Cup first round meeting with Edinburgh United had to be abandoned because of injury to striker Callum Strang, while their East of Scotland League Conference C clash with Linlithgow Rose yielded no points.

A 2-0 win over Hawick Royal Albert – relegated from last season’s Lowland League – provided encouragement, but continued progress is the name of the game for the Swifts this season.

Craig Reid, who took over as chair in March, previously told the Press that “continuing the progress of the kids” is their main focus, while Richardson commented: “The club want to see progression and it is a long-term plan. We have kids coming through from five-years-old and we want to bring that talent through.

“It is a privilege for me and John to be asked.”