Kelty Hearts boss Kevin Thomson believes their 1-0 Premier Sports Cup defeat to Dundee United should stand them in good stead for their league campaign.
Kelty went down 1-0 to United at New Central Park in Friday night’s Group B clash thanks to a late Lawrence Shankland strike.
Despite the defeat to open the new season, former Dundee midfielder Thomson was proud of his side’s display.
❤️ @KeltyHeartsFC's Kevin Thomson reacts to a spirited performance from his side
🗣️ "Really proud of the boys. The fact that they're sitting in there disappointed, first game of the season live on the telly against Dundee United, tells me a wee bit about their character." pic.twitter.com/TYVyux4V78
— Premier Sports 📺 (@PremierSportsTV) July 9, 2021
The Lowland League champions will compete in the professional ranks in the coming season for the first time in the former junior club’s history.
And Thomson believes they showed plenty of the qualities they’ll need to have success in the fourth tier against United.
Kelty aiming to carry United display into League Two campaign
“We played well but I hate getting beat,” he said.
“Hopefully it stands us in good stead the fact you go into the changing-room after the game and the boys are really disappointed to lose to a Premiership team.
“To a man, I thought they were excellent with the chances we created and how organised we were against a very good team with a Scotland international (Shankland) up front.
“The way we handled the ball, the way when it turned over and we created chances, I thought we looked quite dangerous.
“If we can do that in League Two, hopefully it’ll give us a wee chance of bringing some sort of success.”
Early-season reasons to be cheerful
Coupled with their performances in pre-season against Montrose (1-1 draw) and Partick Thistle (3-2) defeat, the Kelty gaffer is pleased with how The Maroon Machine are shaping up.
Thomson continued: “It’s the cutting edge for us and a wee bit of luck.
“We could’ve scored four or five against Montrose last week and we never.
“We’ll do a lot more going towards the goal.
“But Montrose, League One team, Partick Thistle, Championship team, Dundee United, Premiership team, we want to have games where it’s really hard to get our chances and make it difficult for us.
“I never felt they cut us open or it was backs against the wall, defending for our lives.
“It should stand us in good stead and brings us confidence.
“I like to win, getting beat always hurts, but I have to put it into perspective.
“The boys have been terrific and we’ll go again.”
Levels the key for Thomson
In fact, on another night in Fife, Thomson believes it could’ve been oh-so different for his men against the Tangerines.
He added: “Football, for me, is levels.
“Your chances are more rushed, more half chances, not quite as good chances against better teams.
“When you’ve got the ball, a better player puts you under a wee bit more pressure, you need to think a wee bit quicker. It’s just the levels.
“I felt we had level of player whereby we could, one, defend as a team, two, attack as a team and, three, we looked after the ball as a team.”