As Clydebank look set to embark on their own journey back into seniors, across in the east of Scotland Kelty Hearts made the move from the juniors to senior football last year.

The Fife side were regularly topping junior football’s east region top division, winning two league titles in the last three seasons of their time in junior football.

The club announced in April last year they would be making the move to the bottom tier of the Scottish FA’s pyramid, the East of Scotland Football League, one below the Lowland League.

It is one of the possible routes that the Bankies could take, and Kelty’s general manager Dean Mckenzie said it was a move they looked into in great depth before making the decision.

He said: “We did extensive research on the East Of Scotland and Lowland League upon submitting our licence application.

“It became apparent really early on that our future lay in the Scottish pyramid system being an SFA licensed club.

“The Lowland League will become the premier non-league division, if it isn’t already, and we really wanted to be a progressive club, rewarded for our hard work and open up a multitude of doors to the benefit of the club that were closed being a junior football club.

“As office bearers it’s our duty to do what’s best for the football club at all times, and we felt 100 per cent this was the best move for us.”

But it wasn’t just the club officials wanting to move. After meeting with fans, it became clear it was a decision most agreed on.

He added: “We held two fans meetings that were very well attended, we showed them our presentation on the benefits of joining senior football and our vision.

“This was very well received by most, if not all our supporters, who had total trust in us and the vision we had for the club, it really excited them.”

The team were accepted into the league in June, and began working towards becoming an SFA licenced club shortly afterwards, and were accepted later in the year.

Kelty also had planning permission accepted back in September last year, with ambitious plans to add a seated stand and new hospitality sections.

It’s not just the changes off the pitch that are being noticed, with the football sides a different prospect for the Fife side compared to their usual junior opponents.

Mckenzie said: “The transition has been fairly straight forward on the pitch, what we have noticed having played both Lowland League and obviously EoS teams is that that they are more technical with clubs packed with players with energy, pace and technique.

“Off the pitch the fact that your club can be rewarded with an SFA Licence for good governance, facilities and good practice means we had to be more organised in a few areas in terms of meeting the criteria.

“It was something we welcomed, to have that assurance we are getting things right, in the juniors good governance and practice weren’t really evaluated.”

It’s early days, but things are going well for Kelty in their new environment.

They are top of the division with six games to go, winning all of their 18 games so far this season.

There is, however, one other unbeaten side, Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale, who have played 13 wins out of 13, and Hearts’ main rivals.

But winning every week isn’t the only thing they’ve enjoyed so far.

He said: “We have loved it. We have full season fixture lists, an under-20s league and we have been able to have the club rewarded for our efforts in terms of SFA licensing plus more.

“The clubs [in the East of Scotland league] are friendly and welcoming and it’s a league very much on the up. We are clear at the top as we speak but we have a lot of work to do in our last six matches before the champagne gets opened.

“Our crowds have gone up by 20 per cent since our move with away crowds being larger too, which we are absolutely delighted with.”

It’s a club on the up. Hearts are a club with big ambitions, and while some of these may not be realised right away, there is always the hope that one day they can make it into the SPFL. Mckenzie said the town of Kelty had really got behind their new adventure, and reckons the same could happen to the Bankies.

He said: “The biggest difference Clydebank will hopefully find out is that if it’s marketed properly, the town really will get behind the club in terms of matchday crowds or through sponsorship.

“We have removed the glass ceiling for our supporters.

“They have been given fixture lists for the first time, they can dream of maybe one day reaching the SPFL, they can dream of playing in the national cup competitions each season.

“Whether that’s the Betfred or Irn Bru Cup through Lowland League placings if we get there, or the Scottish Cup they buy into the club’s aspirations and vision.

“Clydebank have a bigger catchment area than Kelty Hearts, and they are a well supported club presently and also historically, so I have no doubt their move will prove to be a very successful one, their future could be very bright indeed.

“I feel they are making a smart move in getting in quick to the pyramid system, which could essentially have them years ahead of other big non-league or junior clubs with their ultimate goal of reaching the SPFL. I wouldn’t bet against it happening one day.”