KELTY HEARTS have been declared Lowland League champions for a second successive season after clubs voted to call the season.

The league's board have, this morning, confirmed reports of a vote in favour of deciding the season on a points-per-game basis, which leaves Barry Ferguson's league leaders at the top of the standings.

Nine of the division's 17 clubs supported such a recommendation, with three expressing their preference for the season to be declared null and void, meaning Kelty are league winners with a points-per-game average of 2.77.

Having played 13 games, the New Central Park outfit had accumulated 36 points - six more than nearest challengers, BSC Glasgow - when the season was brought to a halt due to a rise in Coronavirus cases on January 11.

All football beneath the SPFL Championship was suspended and, although SPFL League One and League Two; the Scottish Cup; and the Scottish Women's Premier League One were all given the green light to return - on the understanding they conduct weekly PCR testing - uncertainty remained over the Lowland League and East of Scotland League.

Although the East of Scotland League are set to make a decision on their season next week, the Lowland League have now moved to bring clarity.

It means that Kelty, who were declared winners last season in the same manner, will now move forward to represent the Lowland League in the pyramid play-offs.

Amidst much controversy, the pyramid play-offs - which see the winners of a two-legged match between the Highland League and Lowland League champions take on League Two's bottom club for an SPFL place - did not take place last season.

In normal circumstances, Kelty would have met Brora Rangers, and following the Lowland League declaration, the Highland League also called their season, with Brora being put forward as the champions for 2020/21.

A statement from the Scottish Lowland Football League read: "The Board considered responses provided by member clubs.

"Nine clubs wrote to say they supported this recommendation. Three clubs expressed a preference for the season to be declared null and void. This constitutes a majority of clubs in favour of the recommendation. The Board has therefore agreed League positions for season 2020/21 will be decided based on average Points Per Game.

"Discussions are ongoing with the Scottish FA, SPFL and SHFL about possible dates for the Pyramid Play-Off competition. All clubs competing in it will, under current Scottish Government requirements, be required to pay for PCR tests.

"There are several factors before relegation can be confirmed which includes waiting until the conclusion of the Pyramid and Lower Pyramid Play-Off competitions."

Finishing behind Kelty are East Kilbride and Bonnyrigg Rose, both with a points-per-game average of 2.42, with the former's superior goal difference ensuring they place second; BSC Glasgow, with 2.31; and East Stirlingshire, with 2.17.

The league have also announced that the new season will start on July 17.