Kelty Hearts are champions as Ukrainian youngster scores goal that clinches League Two title

Kevin Thomson hailed Kelty Hearts heroes after they were crowned Scottish League Two champions following a 1-0 win over Stenhousemuir at New Central Park.

The winning goal came from Ukranian midfielder Maksym Kucheryavyi, on loan from St Johnstone, in the 84th minute – a fitting moment for the youngster from Kyiv amid the ongoing conflict in his homeland following the Russian invasion.

Kelty’s victory, combined with second-placed Annan Athletic’s 4-2 defeat at home to Albion Rovers, was enough to clinch the title with Thomson’s men now 16 points clear at the top with five games remaining.

It caps off a fairytale first season in the SPFL for the Fifers following their promotion from the Lowland League last season after coming through the pyramid play-offs.

Kelty Hearts players celebrate after being crowned League 2 champions following a 1-0 win over Stenhousemuir at New Central Park. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)

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It is also a dream first title for Thomson in his first season as a manager after leaving a coaching role with Rangers to take charge of Kelty last summer.

“It's a wonderful afternoon for the club and the town," Thomson said.

“It's been a long time coming, the last eight or nine months trying to drive standards and demand off the group and make sure we're fully focused week in week out, which is not easy when these boys have got jobs through the day.

“Massive plaudits to all the players, all the committee and all the staff behind the scenes because everybody has worked tirelessly since the day we took the job. From starting pre-season on June 15 all the way to today it's been a magical run.

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Goalscorer Maksym Kucheriavyi, who hails from Ukraine, celebrates with Kelty Hearts fans after scoring the goal that clinched the League 2 title. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)

“The players will enjoy it, have a wee glass of wine tonight, and we'll look forward to next season.”

Thomson is already being touted for bigger jobs, but the former Rangers, Hibs and Scotland midfielder plans to lead Kelty into League One.

"I'm fully committed to the club,” he said. “The only time I will move on is when someone wants me, and the club wants me to move on. I’m not naive, in football management it's very rare you spend too long at a club but at same time I've got two-year contract. Our challenge is how do we keep on getting better.”

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Elsewhere in League Two, Elgin City beat Edinburgh City 2-0, Stranraer lost 1-0 at Stirling while Forfar and Cowdenbeath shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw.

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