Scottish Cup: Taylor-MacKenzie’s swift reunion with Lothian Thistle

Scott Taylor-MacKenzie
Scott Taylor-MacKenzie
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He was instrumental in helping a Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale squad to within 90 minutes of a David and Goliath Scottish Cup fifth-round clash with 37-times winners Celtic just more than 18 months ago.

However, Kelty Hearts’ Scott Taylor-MacKenzie will be doing his utmost to ensure the Capital outfit exit the competition at the first hurdle in Fife tomorrow.

The 20-year-old full back opted for pastures new last month, electing to leave Lothian to sign a two-year deal with reigning East Junior Super League champions Kelty Hearts.

His new club made headlines this summer with their decision to end their 42-year stay in the Junior ranks as they pursue their SPFL dream by joining Scottish football’s pyramid system having been admitted to the East of Scotland League this season.

However, it’s all about the romance of the Scottish Cup tomorrow as Taylor-MacKenzie lines up against his former team-mates in the first preliminary round at New Central Park.

“I knew I’d come up against them in the league this year but I never expected to be drawn against them in the Scottish Cup,” the youngster said. “It’s a strange one because I’d agreed terms with Kelty on the Sunday and the following day we are paired with Lothian in the Scottish Cup! You couldn’t make it up really.”

Revealing he thought long and hard over his next move having decided to leave league champions Lothian in May, Taylor-MacKenzie believes his decision to join Thomas Court’s outfit will be vindicated in due course.

“I just felt I wanted a fresh challenge,” the youngster explained. “It was a hard decision to leave but I’d been at Lothian the last two years after leaving St Johnstone and I was also there as a boy too, so I was always planning on starting afresh.

“I went on trial at Arbroath and I did well there but I just don’t think I would have played as much I would like had I signed for them.

“I played a few games but the manager Dick Campbell wasn’t there to see me, just his assistant and a few other coaches. But Kelty showed a lot of interest and I was sold on the move there to be honest.

“The club are really ambitious with their desire to one day be playing in the Scottish leagues and I like that. It might be a long journey but everything is in place for it.

“When I went over for the first time to see everything, I was quite taken back by the facilities and the set-up there, it’s very professional.”

Recalling Lothian’s giant-killing act of two seasons ago when they disposed of the likes of Huntly and Montrose before eventually exiting the competition to East Kilbride, Taylor-MacKenzie insists he and his new team-mates have the credentials to cause more than a few upsets as they look to write their own chapter.

“We beat some really good teams that season, which included Kelty funny enough! I think when we beat Montrose on their patch in the replay was probably the best night of my football career so far,” Taylor-MacKenzie said.

“I’d be lying if I said it won’t be a strange one playing against my old team so soon after leaving as the club will always be a big part of me.

“But I’m with Kelty now and they are the team standing in our way of progressing to the next round. I want to go as far in the competition as possible and I don’t see any reason why we can’t go on a similar run to what we achieved with Lothian a couple of seasons ago.

“The players we have at the club are more than capable having just won the East Junior Super League last year.”

Taylor-MacKenzie expects this season’s East of Scotland League title to be one of the most hotly contested seen in 
recent seasons.

“Lothian really are a brilliant team with some great players who are more than capable of causing us problems,” he said. “Raymond [Carr] gets the best out of everyone so they’ll definitely be up there challenging come the end of the season, even Tynecastle as well.

“I’m really happy with the way things have gone so far with Kelty. I feel like I’m learning new things with each training session and getting better by the week. We’re always doing something different and that can only help me develop going forward. It’s going to be a tough season but I’m ready.”