Barry Ferguson reveals why Kelty Hearts are on a journey to make history in the SPFL

Kelty Hearts manager Barry Ferguson explained that his club are on a journey to make history by stealing Brechin City’s SPFL place.

Barry Ferguson's Kelty Hearts were too strong for Brora Rangers.

After beating Highland League champions Brora Rangers 4-1 for a 6-1 aggregate in the pyramid play-off, Lowland League winners Kelty now meet League Two’s bottom side Brechin over two legs. Whoever prevails will play in next season’s SPFL.

“It’s not going to be easy. I don’t care what anybody says,” said Ferguson. “Brechin have finished bottom the last two seasons and we beat them 2-0 in the League Cup at Glebe Park earlier this season.

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“It’s a two-legged play-off final. They are playing for their lives to stay in the SPFL, and we want to make a bit of history at Kelty Hearts. The journey we’ve been on this last 30 months has been unbelievable when you look at how far we’ve come. We will give it our best shot.”

The first leg is on Tuesday, May 18, at New Central Park with the return at Glebe Park on Sunday, May 23. Brora manager Steven Mackay believes Kelty can do it after Nathan Austin’s hat-trick and Dylan Easton’s volley won Saturday’s game in Fife. Kelty beat Brora 2-0 in Tuesday’s first leg.

“Kelty absolutely have a chance, 100 per cent, and that’s not being disrespectful to Brechin,” he said. “Barry has a strong side, they know their roles within the side, a couple of exceptional players.

“In Nathan Austin they have a striker any team would love to have. I love his hunger to want to get in the box and score goals. That header [for the second goal], he had no right to win it but showed that desire to get in front of the defender and put it in.

“It wasn’t nice to watch but I can admire his desire to score goals and he was the difference.”

Ferguson admitted to a bit of a rant with the scoreline 1-1 at half-time. “We thoroughly deserved to go through,” he said. We aren’t playing at the levels we can but Brora are a good team and we’ve beaten them. They beat Hearts and played Hibs at Easter Road.

“We now have another ten days’ preparation because this was rushed – just under three weeks. I hadn’t seen them for three-and-a-half months but they showed what a good team we can be.

“I wasn’t calm at half-time. They know I’m demanding but I need to be realistic. They haven’t played for four months. They gave me everything and that’s all I can ask.”

Mackay was critical of the way his side capitulated after the interval. “The manner of it, no real fight or determination to get back in the game, almost an acceptance which we asked them not to do,” he complained.

“If you’re going to lose a football match then go down fighting which we didn’t do. We downed tools. I said that to them it was embarrassing in the second half and not acceptable.

“We talk as a club about going and playing at a higher level but that was nowhere near it. I’ve learned a lot in the last week in a bad way, to be honest. It’s a good reality check for me.”

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