In 1975 the committee members of the newly formed Kelty Hearts Amateur Football Club made a pledge that they wanted to reach the top in ‘Amateur’ football circles and then attempt to bring ‘Junior’ football back to the village. Their record over the ensuing seasons certainly put them on the right path to achieve their goal. They worked their way up from the bottom of the Kirkcaldy & District Amateur Football Association to the top in four seasons and along the way added several local trophies as well as some decent runs in the national competition. During season 1978/79 Kelty Hearts Amateurs played a friendly against top junior side Halbeath Juniors as preparation for Halbeath’s Scottish Junior Cup quarter final against Pollok. Kelty Hearts won 3-1 and at the end of the season Halbeath signed five of Kelty’s team. This in effect nearly finished the club as the existing management team quit and other players left or retired. There was only one thing to do ………. turn ‘Junior’
During season 1979/80 the newly formed committee spent all their efforts on keeping the club alive, fund raising and improving the facilities at Central Park to meet the Scottish Junior F.A. requirements.
Planning permission was received to build a six foot high wooden perimeter fence around the ground with access for supporters to pay admission. The local council had been renovating many of the houses in the village and the club purchased the old flooring from a local scrap merchant. All the old nails were removed and then the wood was cut into six feet lengths, this was all done by the committee and volunteers, the fence was erected and then painted. Wooden poles and a rope to keep spectators off the pitch was also installed and new removable steel goalposts were manufactured by local firm Kingdom Engineering and fitted. A separate changing room and shower for match officials was built in the old pavilion and existing home and away changing rooms were extended, refurbished and new showers installed. After match refreshments were also a pre-requisite in the ‘Juniors’ and this was supplied by the clubs main sponsor, Peter Wright at the No 1 Inn.
The club still managed to field a team mainly of local players and fulfilled all their fixtures that season. Ian Hutchinson became treasurer and Danny Wells was elected as club secretary. Former Dunfermline Athletic & Scotland defender Willie Callaghan Snr became team manager for a short period and Eric McMillan was recruited as his assistant. Things went very well off the field unfortunately the team finished well down the league but everyone who was involved during that trying time felt they had achieved something very special.
After an inspection of the park and facilities by two Scottish Junior F.A. officials (Davie Roy and Frank Fraser) the dream became reality when the clubs application to the Fife Region of the Scottish Junior Football Association was accepted at their AGM in June 1980. The upgrade of the facilities at Central Park was passed to allow participation in the Fife Junior League the coming 1980/81 season.
Kelty Hearts home ground was Central Park and they were then managed by a young man just starting out on his managerial career, Jim Leishman (later to be in charge at Dunfermline, Montrose, Inverness Thistle, Rosyth Recreation and Livingston). The Hearts quickly established themselves as a power in the local Juniors and have been regular winners of all Fife Junior trophies and League titles. In fact to commemorate them winning the Fife League title three years in a row they were invited to a civic reception to be presented with a plaque from Fife Council convenor Bert Gough.
In their short history Kelty Hearts have reached the Scottish Junior Cup Final on two occasions. Their first appearance came in 1999 when they played Kilwinning Rangers at Firhill Stadium in Glasgow. Although beaten 1-0. they did finish top goal scorers in the competition that year. Their second final appearance was in 2007 when they played Linlithgow Rose at East End Park, Dunfermline. In front of the biggest cup final crowd for many years (over 10,000) they lost 2-1 after extra time and just missing out on a place in the Seniors Scottish Cup. Again they managed to finish top scorers in the competition.
Goalkeeper Allan Fleming also won his first international cap, representing Scotland against Eire.
Season 2006/07 also seen them promoted to the East Region Super League and win the ACA League Cup. In 2007/08, a creditable 7th place finish in the league seen them retain their position in the top flight as well as beating Thornton 2-0 with goals from John Martin & Russell Smart to win the Maloco & Associates Trophy to continue their resurgence. Thomas Courts gained the distinction of captaining his country three times in the Umbro quadrangular tournament in the Isle of Man, which Scotland won.
Season 2008/09 was another season where Kelty Hearts secured silverware. As well as finishing in their highest ever league position of 5th in the East Super League, they retained the Maloco & Associates trophy, defeating Glenrothes 1-0, captain Tam Courts scoring his first and Kelty’s last goal of the season.
Kelty again managed to stay in the Super League in 2009/2010 by finishing 9th but this was considered a disappointing season especially after finishing so well the previous year, there were no silverware to be added to the honours list that season also.
The start of season 2010/2011 was an important season off the pitch as the the new Kelty Hearts Social Club was declared open after tireless work from the Kelty Commitee and Main Sponsor Lomond Group but on the park it was to prove a struggle for "The Hearts", with only 1 win and 5 losses from the opening 6 league games coupled with a first round exit in the Scottish Cup at the hands of Glenrothes, Kelty took the tough decision to replace the manager and Kelty Hearts legend Stevie Leighton with the Scotland Juniors manager Keith Burgess.
Kelty's form picked up and with 6 wins 2 draws and 7 defeats in the remaining league matches, Kelty managed to stay clear from the drop by 3 points finishing again in 9th position. Defeats by Boness in the East Of Scotland Cup and Bonnyrigg in the Fife & Lothians put paid to any hopes of silverware that season. Player of the year went to midfeilder Neil "Cabey" McCabe and top goalscorer was won by Craig Morrison.
Season 2011/2012 was to start as a campaign full of optimism as Keith Burgess brought in 2 time Super League winner & Boness captain Roger Duffin, Super League top scorer Bryan Duell and Scottish Cup winner Robbie Henderson.
This was a statement of intent by the gaffer for the coming season but a defeat to rivals Hill Of Beath was to put Kelty out the ACA League Cup and 2 defeats in the 1st 2 Super League games got us off to a bad start but a 3-1 away win at Musselburgh in September 2011 was to be the beggining of a remarkable 11 game unbeaten run that lasted for 4 months.
Into the new year and the 11 game unbeaten run came to a halt when 4 defeats in January & February, with 1 being in the Scottish Cup 5th round at the hands of Largs Thistle, prevented any title challenge or Scottish Cup venture happening that season.
Kelty managed to reach the semi's of the Fife & Lothians Cup but were defeated at home to Broxburn 3-2 and again at home in the East Of Scotland Cup 2nd round Kelty were put out by Super League winners Bonnyrigg Rose on penalties.
Progress had been made by Kelty as we finished the Super League season in our joint highest position of 5th, a jump of 4 places from last years 9th place finish, also good runs in the Scottish Cup and Fife & Lothians Cup will give existing players and new players confidence going into the new season.
The Top Scorer award went to Conrad Courts with 8 goals and the Player Of The Year went to midfielder Neil "Cabey" McCabe for the 2nd season in a row.
Manager Keith Burgess again strengthened the squad for the coming season bringing in Stephen Bathgate (Hill Of Beath), Brian Ritchie (Oakley), Damon Gray (Berwick Rangers) and announced a testimonial for long serving player Stephan Winiarski against Glasgow Rangers
Kelty started the season strongly winning their first 6 games. In the cups they reached the final of the League Cup and the quarter final of the Scottish Junior Cup. They did not do so well in the East of Scotland and Fife & Lothians Cups going out in the 2nd Round of both. They finished in a credible 5th in the East Super League although the biggest disappointment was the Central Park pitch which had been dogged by drainage problems causing the Scottish Cup quarter final against Auchinleck Talbot being moved to Ore Park home of Ballingry Rovers. Postponements took its toll at the end of the season and Hearts lost their last seven games including the League Cup Final against Jeanfield Swifts. Top goal scorer was Stuart Cargill with 16 goals.
Close season seen the club invest heavily to repair the drainage probem at the park with help from local sponsor John Meiklem. Keith Burgess resigned and Kelty brought in Willie Newbigging and John Allison and signed several players including Paul Shields from Bonnyrigg Rose however the new signings did not have the desired effect and although they won the Dundonald Bluebell tournament Hearts poor end to the previous season continued and with no wins in their first 7 competitive games the writing was on the wall for gaffer Newbigging and after an early exit in the East of Scotland and the Scottish Junior Cup at Lochgelly Albert he was sacked.
Kelty moved quickly and appointed Tom Courts as Player /Manager who began an overhaul of the squad and after 3 games they got their first win of the season beating Lochee United 3-0. It was a long hard season but things did improve and the club avoided relegation by beating Dalkeith Thistle (5-0) over 2 legs in the Play Off. Reaching the semi-final of the Fife & Lothians was also a boost and gave the new management team something to build on for the next season. Top scorer was Stuart Cargill with 14 goals. Player of the Year was goalkeeper Allan Fleming who along Tom Courts had been picked to play for the national team earlier in the season
The dust had not settled after Kelty’s play-off win and yet again a busy close season was underway. Off the park the committee were planning an extension to the social club and on the park manager Tom Courts was rebuilding the team for the forthcoming season. Out went Damon Gray, Paddy Deane, David Carr and Darren Kelly were put on the transfer list. Player of the Year Allan Fleming joined East Fife and Ross Philp left to join League Champions Bo’ness United.
Manager Courts moved swiftly though and signed seven players, in came Shaun Greig a midfielder from Kirkcaldy, Stephen Manson from Bonnyrigg Rose, Craig O’Reilly from Newtongrange Star. Goalkeeper Kyle Allison was recruited from Ballingry Rovers former player Garry Leighton was brought in and Scott Gilfillan stepped up from the Under 19’s.
The ‘Gaffer’ was not finished there as more signings followed Sean O’Neil from Kirkcaldy YM also joined the club and former fans favourite Conrad Courts returned
Major devlopment of the faclities at the ground were at the final stages of planning with a new synthetic pitch, covered enclosures and floodlights all being built.
What a difference a year makes with new facilities and the team going the first 16 games undefeated and instead of relegation talk it was talk of winning the East Super League. Decent results in the Cups also came however their first defeat of the season came with a 3rd round 2-1 defeat at home to Bo’ness United in the ‘Scottish’. Although another disappointing 3-2 defeat to Dundonald Bluebell in the East of Scotland and defeat to Camelon on penalties in the Fife & Lothians Hearts held their nerve to win the East Super League for the first time and became the first Fife team to win the coveted title.
Top Goal scorer was Stuart Cargill with 35 (25 League + 10 Cups) Player of the Year was skipper Shaun Greig although the whole squad got an award for winning the league.
The title party went on for a few weeks after the 14/15 season finished but the management team and committee were hard at it during the close season with the new Social Club and Sports Hub development taking centre stage. The date for laying of the new pitch was delayed and started four weeks later than planned, this would cause major headaches for the club.
The dates for the William Hill Scottish Cup were released with the Preliminary Round being played on the 15th August and the new junior season would start on the 8th with midweek games on the 12th and the 19th that would mean 6 games in the first 3 weeks and all would be away from home so a major challenge for the management and players to defend their Super League title.
Tom Courts and his backroom staff were also looking to strengthen the squad and brought in Kelty boy Stephen Husband (Midfield) from Forfar , Devon Jacobs (Defender) Berwick, Calum Smith (Striker) from Linlithgow, Scott Gates (Midfield) from Lochee United, Murray Carstairs (Defender) from Dundonald Bluebell. Local youngster Josh McPhie was also added and farmed out to fast track his development.
Due to the development of Central Park Hearts started the defence of their title with the first 11 games away from home, not ideal but the management and players had bought into the long term plan the committee had for the club. During this spell they bowed out of the Senior Scottish after a surprise 3-0 defeat to Lowland League side Lothian Thistle. Apart from that the teams form was good and after their first win on the new surface against Broughty Athletic with Craig O'Reilly being the 1st player to score at the newly named New Central Park.
Kelty's form was mixed until they came to terms with the 4G surface. The team also had to deal with serious leg injuries to Sean O’Neill and Shaun Greig.
Kelty Hearts players and committee take time out from the Civic reception for a photo call with former manager and Lord Provost of Fife Jim Leishman MBE
Apart from an early exit in the East of Scotland to Tayport, Kelty went to the semi final of the Fife & Lothians and the 5th Round of the Scottish Cups. They fought hard to the end of the season to retain the championship but were pipped at the post by Bonnyrigg Rose who won the title.
It had been a massive effort by the players but on reflection injuries to key players, playing away at the start of season and then having to adapt to the new surface were factors in the club not retaining the title however no complaints from anyone at the club and Bonnyrigg were worth winners of the championship.
Stuart Cargill was once again the Top Goal scorer with 18 and Scott Gates won Player of the Year.
Kelty Hearts were once again crowned as East Super League champions and after a convincing 3-0 win over second placed and reigning champions Bonnyrigg Rose skipper Shaun Greig was presented with the trophy. The season had been filled with new milestones for the club, Kelty had won the League with 78 points (the most points since the Super League started), a 26 game unbeaten run, Stuart Cargill scored his 100th goal for the club to name a few. The title party was well underway and went on for a few days but as usual there was no respite for the management team and committee. Our SFA membership application made sure there was plenty to do during the close season. Our resignation from SJFA was followed by acceptance into the East of Scotland League and League and Cup fixtures followed. Our first SFA audit was carried out and actions were started to achieve completion for final audit early August.
The dates for the William Hill Scottish Cup were released with the Preliminary Round being played on the 12th August and the new season would start on the 29th July. Tom Courts and his backroom staff were also looking to strengthen the squad and brought in Ian Nimmo (Midfielder) from Arthurlie, Errol Douglas (Striker) from Newtongrange Star, Kenny Adamson (Defender) from Cowdenbeath.
Further development at New Central Park saw the New South entrance built and the kids astro pitch completed, the planning application for our new all seater stand was submitted to Fife Council.
Although the management and players had been disappointed with cup performances their second League title in three seasons was a great reward for their efforts during the season.
The club would look forward to another venture into the Senior Scottish cup and hopefully become a ‘Senior’ club in their own right if the application to join the SFA was passed. The last time Kelty had a ‘Senior’ club was 1891 when Blairadam F.C. brought football to the village in the early 1880’s, this team was one of the founding clubs of the Fifeshire Football Association.
Kelty Hearts players and committee took time out to celebrate the Annual Awards Day on Saturday the 10th June. Brian Ritchie and Craig Thomson shared most of the honours with Brian voted as Player of the Year and Top goal scorer and ‘Tommo’ winning Best Goal and Sportsman of the Year. The whole squad won the Gordon Young Trophy.
AUG 1980 - OCT 1980
OCT 1980 - OCT 1981
OCT 1981 - NOV 1983
NOV 1983 - FEB 1984
FEB 1984 - MAY 1987
JULY 1987 - MAY 1988
JUNE 1988 - MAR 1989
MAR 1989 - SEPT 1989
SEPT 1989 - MAY 1990
MAY 1990 - AUG 1991
AUG 1991 - JULY 1992
AUG 1992 - DEC 1993
DEC 1993 - OCT 1994
OCT 1994 - NOV 1994
NOV 1994 - AUG 2000
SEPT 2000 - APRIL 2001
JUNE 2001 - APRIL 2002
APRIL 2002 - JUNE 2002
JUNE 2002 - MAY 2004
MAY 2004 - SEPT 2005
SEPT 2005 – OCT 2010
OCT 2010 - MAY 2013
JUNE 2013 - SEP 2013
OCT 2013 - OCT 2018
NOV 2018 - PRESENT
Andrew Tod (Dunfermline Athletic, Dundee United, Hearts & Bradford)
Colin Cameron (Raith Rovers, Hearts, Wolves, MK Dons, Dundee and Scotland)
Alan Combe (Dundee United & Kilmarnock)
Dave Beaumont (Dundee United, Luton and Hibs)
Colin Harris ( Raith Rovers, Dundee, Dumbarton, Cowdenbeath & Hibs)
Ian Heddle (Dunfermline Athletic & St. Johnstone)
Willie Callaghan Jnr. (Dunfermline, Livingston)
East Of Scotland League Winners
King Cup Winners
Junior Club - 1980 to 2017
East Super League Winners:
East Super League Runners Up:
Fife League Winners:
1990–91, 1991–92, 1992–93, 1996–97,1998–99, 2002–03
Scottish Junior Cup Runners-up:
East Region Premier League Runners-up:
Fife & Tayside (Taycars) Trophy Winners:
Fife Junior (PSM) Cup Winners:
1982–83, 1983–84, 1984–85, 1986–87, 1992–93, 2007–08, 2008–09
Cowdenbeath (Interbrew) Cup Winners:
1981–82, 1984–85, 1985–86, 1986–87, 1992–93, 1999–00
Laidlaw Shield Winners:
1983–84, 1984–85, 1986–87
Clark Beckett Cup Winners:
ACA Sports League Cup Winners:
Rosslyn Trophy Winners:
Tam Courts Lifts The Maloco Associates Trophy 08/09.
Junior Cup Team 1999
Kelty beat Thornton 2-0 to win The Maloco Associates Trophy 07/08.
BRIAN INGLIS & ERIC McMILLAN
RAB MORRIS & BRIAN MARR
(longest serving managers - 6 years)
Junior Cup Team 2007
Neil "Cabey" McCabe - Player Of The Year 2 seasons running.