Former Hearts striker Calum Elliot takes Tranent up to the Lowland League
The East of Scotland League champions went into the match as self-declared underdogs against the big-spending West of Scotland League champions from Ayrshire, but goals in each half from Wayne McIntosh and Jamie Docherty means they will now be competing in Scottish football’s fifth tier in 2022/23.
The season isn’t over yet with a League Cup semi-final away to Whitehill Welfare on Tuesday to look forward to, but whatever happens in that competition Elliot can now look forward to the challenge of following in Bonnyrigg Rose’s footsteps and stepping up again, potentially to the SPFL.
For now, however, Elliot can reflect on a job very well done. The 35-year-old, who grew up in the south west of the city and spent eight injury-interrupted years at Hearts, took over at Tranent in September 2020 after two years in charge at Tynecastle. Prior to that he had a spell as player and manager at Mousehole in Cornwall, but had started his coaching career when still in his 20s after being forced to retire as a player due to knee injuries.
After hanging up his boots at Raith Rovers in 2015, Elliot became manager of Edinburgh United when the club were still in the juniors and he hasn’t looked back since.
Tranent have well-back financially this season, but Elliot brought in the right players at the right time to give his squad the edge in an exciting and demanding three-way East of Scotland Premier Division title race involving Penicuik Athletic and Linlithgow Rose which went right down to the last day of the season.
Elliot himself had declared Darvel to be heavy favourites going into the promotion play-off in Ayrshire, but just like they did in big games against Penicuik and Linlithgow in the league Tranent found a way to win when it really mattered.
Veteran striker McIntosh put the visitors in front on 39 minutes at Recreation Park and Docherty showed composure to sidestep and slot past the keeper seven minutes to complete a famous victory for the Big T.