FORMER Dunfermline boss John Potter is the new manager of Kelty Hearts.

In a whirlwind week at New Central Park, the 42-year-old has taken over at New Central Park and replaced Kevin Thomson, who resigned from his position last week.

Shortly after the Times went to print, reports began to surface that the former Rangers and Hibernian midfielder would leave the club, despite guiding them to an historic SPFL League Two title.

Thomson, who was named the division's manager of the season after a highly successful first year in senior management, had made no secret of his ambition to move into a full-time role, and his departure was subsequently confirmed by the club.

After accepting the resignations of Thomson, and his assistant manager, Kevin McDonald, Kelty said in a statement: "Over recent weeks, it became apparent that Kevin’s aspirations lay away from Kelty Hearts Football Club.

"We would like to thank them both for their efforts whilst with the club. This resulted in our promotion to cinch League One, winning the league by 21 points and reaching the fifth round of the Scottish Cup for the first time in our history.

"We would like to wish Kevin Thomson and Kevin McDonald all the very best in their careers going forward."

It has now been confirmed this morning (Wednesday) that the ambitious 'Maroon Machine' have turned to experienced coach Potter to take over for their first-ever campaign in Scottish football's third tier.

In a statement, they said: "Kelty Hearts FC are delighted to announce the appointment of our new First Team Manager, John Potter!

"John, who played for Celtic, St Mirren, Clyde and Dunfermline as a player, joins the club with an impressive coaching pedigree.

"The 42-year-old has been assistant manager at clubs such as Hibernian and Sunderland, manager at Dunfermline and most recently, played a massive part at newly promoted, Queens Park.

"John is a young and hungry coach who is determined to bring more success to the football club.

"His values and ambition align with the club and we welcome John to Kelty Hearts!"

Following a playing career that saw him turn out for Clyde and St Mirren either side of two spells at Dunfermline, it was with the Pars that he first cut his coaching teeth, taking charge of their under-20s under the management of Jim Jefferies.

Popular with the players, Potter was also part of the first-team coaching staff and, when Jefferies resigned in December 2014, he was given the role as head coach.

However, after a disappointing campaign that saw the East End Park outfit finish seventh in League One, he reverted back to his role as first team coach the following summer as Allan Johnston was appointed as their new manager.

In the summer of 2018, however, Potter was lured away from Dunfermline by Jack Ross – a team-mate at both Clyde and St Mirren – to Sunderland, before the duo teamed-up again at Hibernian almost a year-and-a-half later.

Despite leading the Easter Road side to third in the Premiership in the 2020/21 season, and the Scottish Cup final, Ross and Potter left the club in December, having guided them to the League Cup final.

Subsequently, Potter began coaching with Queen's Park, and helped them earn promotion to the Championship after play-off wins over Dunfermline – who will face Kelty in the league for the first time this coming season – and Airdrieonians.

Meanwhile, after his departure, Thomson posted on social media: "Always tough when you move on, (would) just like to say massive thanks to Kelty Hearts for giving me and Kevin McDonald the opportunity to take the club forward.

"Loved every minute of it, not always rosy, but highs and lows in football! Massive thanks to everyone, fans, players and staff."

Winger Joe Cardle, who added the cinch League Two Player of the Season trophy to his PFA Scotland League Two Player of the Year award, said Thomson's resignation "came as a bit of a surprise".

"Obviously, I don’t know what’s gone on behind the scenes, but he’s made the decision to leave and, yeah, disappointed really because it was a joy to play under him and Geordie, Kevin McDonald, but we’ve just got to look forward now," he said.

"We’ve got a strong team, we’ve got some really good players and it’s a great club to be at. I just keep refreshing my phone to see who’s going to be coming in!

"The club's on the up, the boys are full of confidence, we obviously had a great season last season, and we want to push on again, so I think some top managers, and young managers as well that are coming into the game, will want to look at the prospect of becoming Kelty manager.

"It's an exciting time for the club. As I said, I keep on refreshing my phone to see who it's going to be!

"I was speaking to a few of the boys and they are of the same mindset, they're excited about the prospect of a young, talented manager coming in hopefully."