Dalkeith Thistle travel to Fife this evening for the first leg of their Super League play-off against top-flight Kelty Hearts (kick-off 7.15pm).
The winner over the two legs will secure their place in the Super League for next season and for Dalkeith striker Kevin Haynes, he is eager to play once more in the top tier.
The experienced frontman, who lifted the Scottish Junior Cup with Bathgate Thistle in 2008, admits it’s not been ideal preparation for tonight’s match after Dalkeith’s fate was out of their own hands. Dalkeith needed just a point away to Montrose Roselea in their final Premier League match on May 24th to secure third place, but lost out 2-1. Glenrothes would have pipped Dalkeith to the play-off spot had they beaten Dundee Violet on Saturday, but they crashed to a 3-1 defeat.
“We slipped up the week before and we knew they’d steal it if they won, said Haynes.
“We’ve let ourselves down a couple of times this season. We probably could’ve had second tied up and an automatic promotion spot, but we lost a few last minute goals to concede draws.”
Haynes believes Kelty will fancy their chances given their greater Super League experience, however, given Dalkeith’s youthfulness, they are an unknown quantity for their opponents.
“They’ve got a lot of experienced guys there, they’ve beaten Linlithgow Rose and drawn with Bo’ness at home this season so we know it’s not going to be easy. We are fairly confident. The majority of our team is young boys so Kelty might not know much about us.”
Dalkeith are without midfielder Scott McNaughton due to a broken leg, but top goalscorer Steven Pudleski, who missed the Montrose match with ligament damage, could return to action after he trained this week.