KELTY Hearts, just a few days after going joint top of the Lowland League, are searching for a new manager.

Club officials were shocked last night when the Lochgelly man handed in his resignation.

Immediately the situation became known the rumour factory picked up pace with people linking the man who just recently celebrated his testimonial with the New Central Park club, with vacant posts at Stirling Albion and Airdrie.

The statement released by Hearts said: "Manager Thomas Courts has tonight tendered his resignation which has been reluctantly accepted.

"The board and committee would wholeheartedly like to thank Thomas for his invaluable contributions both as a manager and a player."

They added today: "All energies go into tomorrow's big cup-tie with East Stirling, the team will be taken by Murray McDowell and Dave McNeely helped by senior players, Shaun Greig, Conrad Courts and Scott Dalziel.

"The club would like to thank these men for their efforts at last night's training session and get right behind them and every one of our players in this important match."

Thomas tweeted: "What a privilege to have held this job. Maintaining Superleague status then signing 10 players on free transfers, who would go on to transform the club. It’s been an honour."

Thomas was initially player boss and was in charge of the team in 174 games winning three titles, one cup and two play-offs.