Jamie Barjonas said he “owed it” to Kelty Hearts to stay on for their first-ever campaign in League One.
The former Rangers player signed up with Kelty in the summer of 2021 after leaving Ibrox.
There he had spells on loan at Raith Rovers, Partick Thistle, Ayr United and Bury before he moved to New Central Park on a one-year deal under Kevin Thomson.
The now-former Kelty boss did say he intended to persuade the playmaker to agree to another deal and Barjonas expressed his desire to stay.
That was before Thomson’s departure this summer. Despite that “Barjo” decided to extend his stay – though he remains up front about his desire to return to full-time football one day.
“It was always in my mind that Kelty was a really good option,” he said.
“I’ve never hidden the fact I want to go back to full-time, but I think I owed it to Kelty to stay another season.
“Last season was brilliant for us and I’m really looking forward to the season starting.
“We’ve got a good group of boys, hopefully get another few signings in the door and we’ll see what happens.”
Decent showing versus good opposition
Thomson’s replacement John Potter took charge of his Kelty side for the first time in a friendly on Friday night – a 1-0 home defeat to Partick Thistle.
Barjonas said his new boss is “down to earth” and is confident he will flourish under him over the coming season. He also praised the fitness levels of his teammates.
They gave a good account of themselves in the first half versus Championship opposition, creating a number of chances.
Barjonas was typical in his play at points, receiving the ball in space in the opposition half before turning and driving at the Thistle defence.
They were reliant on trialists and young players from the bench, making it difficult to get a grip of the second half once Thistle started to dominate.
“Listen, Partick Thistle are a good side,” continued Barjonas, “they’ll be going for the Championship this season.
“They’ve got some really good signings in the door.
“Footballing-wise we need to be better – keeping the ball. But the fitness levels when we got the press right was good.
“It can only get better – the sharpness and the football stuff, that will come.”
‘Buzzing’ to get the season going
Kelty also still have players to return. The likes of Michael Tidser and Joe Cardle did not feature, while Thomas Reilly only made the bench.
Potter’s side take on Glenrothes away on Tuesday night before hosting Raith Rovers at New Central Park on Saturday.
“I’m buzzing just to get the season going,” said Barjonas.
“We’ve got the Premier Sports Cup games, there’s some top opposition in that, some [far away] opposition in that, in Inverness and Cove Rangers.
“I’m looking forward to the games, it’ll be good.”