KELTY HEARTS have been kicked out of the Football Nation Qualifying Cup after fielding an ineligible player.

Barry Ferguson's team defeated Camelon Juniors 2-0 at New Central Park on Saturday in their quarter-final tie, but discovered afterwards that they had "unknowingly played an ineligible player".

In a statement the day after the match, they said: "It was brought to our attention some time after the final whistle that the player concerned had played in the competition in the earlier rounds whilst with his previous club.

"The club secretary took full responsibility for the error and offered his resignation by letter. This has been rejected by the committee.

"We have, however, taken steps at this morning’s committee meeting to ensure this will never happen again.

"Everyone associated with the club apologise sincerely to the East of Scotland FA, competition sponsors Football Nation, Camelon JFC and our players, management, sponsors and loyal supporters for this error. The club is currently awaiting a response to our communication from the East of Scotland FA.

"We have taken a lot of positive feedback over the years, (and) the committee will accept fully what punishment and negative feedback that will come from this towards the football club."

That punishment has come in the shape of losing their place in the tournament, with Camelon Juniors reinstated, and the club this afternoon confirmed: "We have received official word from the East of Scotland Football Association that the Association Office Bearers have decided that Kelty Hearts be excluded from the remainder of the competition and Camelon Juniors be reinstated in their place."

Earlier in the season, Dundonald Bluebell suffered a similar fate when they were found to have been in breach of the same offence following an SFA South Region Challenge Cup win over Eyemouth United.