THE amazing journey from being a small village amateur club to becoming a senior club in the Scottish football arena has been completed by Hill of Beath Hawthorn who have been awarded their full SFA licence.

This week club chairman Dave Baillie looked back on the rise of the Haws from their beginning in the Kirkcaldy and District Amateur League, through to winning the Scottish Junior Cup and reflected that it had been achieved by an awful lot of hard work by a lot of people committed to the club.

And the prospect of playing in the Scottish Cup next season along with competing in the first ever East of Scotland League Premier Division has everyone at Keirs Park excited.

Hill of Beath Hawthorn was created by Dave and Jock Finlayson way back in 1975, when the club facilities consisted of the pitch and a changing room hut.

The village has a tradition of producing good players, the most famous of them being Jim Baxter and Scott Brown, and the fledgling club was soon doing well in the amateur ranks and by 1982 their success persuaded Jock, who was running the playing side, and Dave that they should try the junior ranks.

Said Dave: "We needed something fresh to try and playing in the Fife Junior League seemed the right move although it did mean improving our facilities and the team.

"We had to enclose the ground and set about improving the changing accommodation and soon the team was adjusting well to playing junior."

Within eight years Haws had won the Scottish Junior Cup, having to beat crack Ayrshire side Auchinleck Talbot and top Renfrewshire team Arthurlie along with the famous Linlithgow Rose, before beating Lesmahagow in the final at Rugby Park. They contested three other semi-finals.

The club dominated the Fife and Lothians junior scene in the 1990s and won seven Fife League titles as well as in 1996 winning a unique quadruple of the League title, Fife Cup, Fife and Lothians Club and the Fife and Tayside Cup.

When the East Super League was started in the mid 2000s the Hill of Beath won their place in the Super League and spent a total of 12 years there having one season in the East Premier after they were relegated.

Jock Finalyson was the manager for 40 years and guided the team to its many successes including capturing the East of Scotland Cup for the first time in his last season.

Last spring, when news broke that a number of junior sides were going to leave the scene and go senior in the East of Scotland League, the decision was taken by the committee to make the move.

Said Dave: "It was the right time to take the next step for the club.

"Yes it meant continuing our upgrading of the ground and we have been doing that in a staged basis, but the pyramid system is an interesting one which offers big opportunities for clubs and we had to take the chance.

"The upgrading work has seen three enclosures constructed, floodlights installed and the changing accommodation transformed with two large dressing rooms with new shower facilities, a manager's office and physio room along with a sizeable social area."

Dave somewhat likes to keep out of the limelight but the building work has been done by himself, with the aid of former captain Russell Brebner, current skipper Rikki Dair, who are both joiners, along with the help of local builders Alex Jarrett and Alex Haddow.

The ground has a capacity of 2,500 and the club committee is looking forward to having an exciting season in 2019-2020.

Added Dave: "The East of Scotland Premier League will be a tough division with 16 clubs who were top sides in the former junior ranks and having a chance to play in the Scottish Cup is an amazing opportunity.

"If we could win a couple of ties we could open the chance up to draw one of the bigger SPFL teams at Keirs Park which would be amazing.

"The aim is to make an impact in all the competitions the club is entered in and we are very fortunate that the people of the village are strong supporters of the Haws.

"We have a good hard working committee and that is very important in providing the base which the club is built on."

The Haws two years ago struck up a relationship with Blue Brazil Boys Club and now have a 'pathway' system to develop young talent which sees teams run at under 17 and under 20 level.

And Dave is always on the look out for people who want to serve on the committee and any volunteers would be welcomed aboard.