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Kevin Thomson will go ‘to the top of the game’, says Kelty Hearts Scottish Cup hero Kallum Higginbotham

Kevin Thomson came up with the perfect game plan to beat St Johnstone, says Kallum Higginbotham.
Kevin Thomson came up with the perfect game plan to beat St Johnstone, says Kallum Higginbotham.

Kevin Thomson will go “to the top of the game”, according to Kelty Hearts Scottish Cup hero Kallum Higginbotham.

The experienced winger was the man with the cool head to find the net for an extra-time winner which knocked the holders out of this year’s competition.

And the former Dunfermline favourite paid tribute to his boss, who came up with the perfect strategy to claim a Premiership side’s scalp and put a famous result in the Fife club’s folklore.

“We worked on a game plan all week to frustrate them, sit deep and let their back line have the ball,” said Higginbotham.  “To try and pick them off on the counter-attack and that’s where the goal came from.

“To a man, we carried out the game plan to perfection. The longer the game went the more they went long.

“His (Thomson’s) training and his man-management is top notch. He’s one of the best I’ve worked under.

“I think he will go to the top in the game.

“He was able to get part-time players to buy into a game plan in two nights. We only worked on it on Tuesday and Thursday night and it was completely different to the way we play in League Two.

“That just shows as a squad the belief we have in the manager and the management team. I can’t speak highly enough of him.

“He has transformed us as a squad into a team that believes we can go out and win every game.”

All of the above would tend to suggest that the head coach of the runaway League Two leaders will soon be a man in demand.

“I don’t know,” said Higginbotham. “He is only just starting out. This is his first job.

“But he’s not shy in saying it – he wants to get to the top. He believes that he will get to the top.

“And, if working with him here is anything to go by, I believe that he will. Absolutely.”

It seemed to take an eternity for Higginbotham to pull the trigger after Alfredo Agyeman had dispossessed Tony Gallacher on the half-way line and he was picked out free in the box as Kelty sprung a rapid counter-attack.

But that was more by accident than design.

Bad first touch

“If I’m being honest, it was a bad first touch!” he admitted. “I wanted to take it out in front of me but it got stuck under my feet.

“I saw the defender coming across so I took it inside and managed to find the bottom corner.

“After that, I can’t quite remember what happened. I just went blank and was running everywhere.

“I wanted the game to finish because I couldn’t get my breath back.

“In the second part of extra-time, we created numerous chances and could have actually scored a couple more goals.”

Higginbotham added: “I’m absolutely delighted for the players, for the management team and for the club as a whole.

“It’s a fantastic achievement to put a Premiership team out of the cup.

“But we’ve not achieved anything yet. It’s into the next round (an away game against St Mirren) and we have a massive game on Tuesday (in the league at Elgin).

“Ultimately, our aim is to get promotion. A cup run would be amazing but our focus now has to turn to the league.”

St Johnstone walk a corridor of fan anger after being knocked out the Scottish Cup by Kelty Hearts

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