DYLAN EASTON insists Kelty Hearts can use their Scottish Cup clash against Stranraer to prove they belong in the SPFL after being denied a crack at promotion last season.
The ambitious Fifers were declared Lowland League champions when the division was called early due to the Covid crisis last April, only to be left scunnered when the decision was made not to pursue playoffs.
That meant League Two’s bottom club, Brechin City, survived without having to face the winners of the annual showdown between the winners of the Highland and Lowland Leagues.
Easton is adamant Kelty would have more than held their own in the SPFL and knows facing Stranraer – on a seven-match unbeaten run – is the perfect chance to prove it.
He said: “We don’t fear anyone at the moment and are playing really well.
“Last season was unfortunate. We battled away for so long and were desperate to push on and win promotion through the playoffs, but that wasn’t to be because of the circumstances. We had to bite that bullet and start again.
“But these are the matches that give us the chance to say ‘are we ready to go into that division and compete at that level’. It was the same against Brechin in the Betfred Cup [2-0 win] earlier this season.
“We are all confident that we are more than capable of winning the game against one of the in-form teams in that division.”
The tie will take place at 6 p.m. at Stark’s Park after the surface at New Central Park was deemed unplayable due to a frozen pitch, with Kelty and Raith Rovers striking an agreement on Friday.
And Easton reckons that 11th hour alteration could be a blessing in disguise for Barry Ferguson’s men.
He added: “I’ve played there a few times in the past and it is a big pitch – a lot bigger than ours at New Central Park.
We like to get the ball down, use the space, keep the ball moving and create chances. So, I think that could benefit us, although we know we are in for a really tough game.