Tranent’s Jamie Devlin explains why dream move to Kelty Hearts hit the buffers

Jamie Devlin is back with Tranent after less than six weeks
Jamie Devlin is back with Tranent after less than six weeks
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Tranent striker Jamie Devlin has opened up on his swift return to the club after his big move to Lowland League outfit Kelty Hearts in November didn’t work out.

The 26-year-old returned to Foresters Park just last week, less than six weeks after moving to the Fife club, sighting unforeseen circumstances as the reason for his transfer to Barry Ferguson’s side not working out as planned.

Devlin, a former East Fife player who lives in Port Seton, thought his move could afford him the chance of a return to the SPFL, but he returned to the East Lothian club after losing both his job and car ahead of Christmas.

“It was a bit too much, I think I underestimated the travelling,” said Devlin, who has scored 17 for Tranent so far this season. “At the time when I signed I had a car and I was in a different job, but then the week after I signed the engine on my car went and I got paid off so I had to change job. It was a complete change in circumstances, something which couldn’t be foreseen.

“My girlfriend had to take some time off with work as she had to get surgery on her knee, then when she went back, she works nights, so I had to be back for the wee man. It just wasn’t going to work for me, it was going to be far too much.

“The move was another step on the ladder for me, another step in the right direction, but these things happen. If there was interest there or somebody watching, I’m sure they will continue regardless of where I am.

“Kelty were good about it. They got back in touch with Tranent to work something out. Tranent was the only place I wanted to go back to, I’m used to the team and playing that system of football.”

Devlin made an impressive return on his second debut for the club last Friday as Tranent lost out 3-2 to Spartans in the Football Nation Qualifying Cup as he scored a double, before the Lowland League hosts fought back to edge through to the quarter-finals.

Ahead of hosting Bo’ness United in East of Scotland Conference B tomorrow – the third meeting of the two clubs so far this season with each having tasted victor - Devlin is targeting 35 for the season under Belters boss Max Christie.

He added: “I scored 43 last season so my target was 45. Because I’ve not really played much the last seven weeks or so I’ve probably knackered my chances of that but I’d hope to get to at least 35. I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s match, we’ve had a couple of tasty ones against them so far.”

Marshalling Devlin in the visiting defence tomorrow will be 36-year-old Bo’ness stalwart Stuart Hunter, who is still in two minds whether his 18th season playing football will be his last.

Hunter admits he misses the Scottish Junior Cup, more so after seeing old foes Auchinleck Talbot knocking out Championship outfit Ayr last week to land a dream trip to Tynecastle in the William Hill Scottish Cup. “I miss the Scottish [Junior] Cup badly, that was the flagship event. They were the big Saturdays that you looked forward to, you always did,” said Hunter. “I know they have the Alex Jack Cup with a passage into the senior Scottish Cup, but it’s not the same glamour as the Junior Scottish Cup for me.

“There was nothing more challenging or something to look forward to than having to go down and face Irvine Meadow or the Talbot - they kind of ties encapsulate the while of the Junior Scottish Cup.

“That’s something that I certainly miss.

“The East of Scotland is a good league and there’s places I’ve never been to before so there is that added excitement to that, but in terms of a route to the Scottish Cup it’s not really clear - I don’t know how you get into the Scottish Cup from where we are unless you have a licence and we don’t have a licence.”