BARRY FERGUSON insists that ambition and the facilities on offer have been key in attracting new players to Kelty Hearts this summer.

And the New Central Park boss said that suggestions that cash has been the main motivating factor in bringing a number of high profile signings to the club is something that "annoys" him.

The former Rangers and Scotland skipper, who took over last October following the shock resignation of Thomas Courts, has brought in eight new players as they bid to mount a challenge for next season's Lowland League title.

Experienced Spartans defender Gary Cennerazzo, 29, became Kelty's latest addition during a busy close season in which former Inverness Caledonian Thistle striker, Nathan Austin; Forfar Athletic pair Dylan Easton and Thomas Reilly; East Fife defender Scott Linton, Whitehill Welfare goalkeeper Ross Jardine; East Stirlingshire's Danny Ashe; and former Airdrie shot-stopper Ben MacKenzie have also put pen to paper.

The additions of four players from SPFL clubs raised eyebrows but Ferguson says that any notion that they have signed because of big wages is "not true".

Speaking to Times Sport he commented: "I've heard a lot of rumours and a lot of people saying about the kinda money that's being spent – it's not true at all.

"It annoys me that people just think that, because you bring players in from a higher level, that you pay more money. It's not about that - it's about what we can offer here as a facility, the ambition and where the club wants to go, and spending a bit of time with the players.

"That's how we've got them, and by showing our commitment that it's not just a short fix, but that it's a long-term plan at the club that we've got. These players bought into it.

"It's difficult to get them to drop down – I understand that they want to try and play at the highest level they can – but, if you look round about the place, the club's striving to go to higher divisions and these boys want to be part of it.

"So it kinda grated on me a wee bit that a lot of people think it's all about money – it's not about money.

"It's about other things that the club can offer in terms of facilities as I say, training all the other things that go with with a football club."

Bringing in experience to compliment his existing squad was a priority for Ferguson, who continued: "We've brought in a bit of experience, guys that have played at a higher level, but the Lowland League's a tough league. You just need to look at East Kilbride, who are a fantastic team, East Stirling have made a lot of signings, BSC Glasgow are a good team, Spartans – there's a lot of good teams and good players, so it comes down to hard work.

"We've done our work obviously getting the signings in, and now we need to do the work off the pitch on the training ground and be ready for the start of the campaign for there is no room for slip-ups".

Hearts start with Dalbeattie Star at New Central Park on Saturday with a 3pm kick-off.