MICHAEL TIDSER heaped praise on his Kelty Hearts players who had to "really dig deep" to defeat Queen of the South on Saturday.

The 'Maroon Machine' player / manager even helped himself to a goal in the 3-1 victory as the hosts bounced back from a heavy defeat to Falkirk the previous week in ideal fashion.

Lewis Moore's penalty within three minutes of Jacob Hutchinson's opener for the Doonhamers saw the teams go in at half-time level, but Reece Lyon headed Kelty ahead early in the second half.

Tidser's fine strike for his first goal in nearly a year - the last of which, ironically, also came against the Dumfries side - sealed three points and moved the New Central Park side up to fourth in the early League One standings.

Central Fife Times: Michael Tidser settled the game with his first goal for Kelty since bagging a winner against Queens last October.Michael Tidser settled the game with his first goal for Kelty since bagging a winner against Queens last October. (Image: David Wardle)

"Goals change games and that just gave us that lift, but then we had to really dig deep," Tidser said of Kelty's second of the game.

"Again, I must compliment Jason Thomson. I thought he was outstanding. He's a real leader of the pack, a real man. He takes the hits, the bumps and the bruises, and just does his job really well.

"I'm really pleased with Jase, but equally pleased with everybody. It's a team effort and it'll be a long season. We need everyone to stick together.

"It's a big three points. I emphasised that to the lads the whole week. We needed a reaction after last Saturday, which was a bit of a blow for us, but, to a man, I thought we were excellent."

The opening 40 minutes of this contest was far from a classic for any watching neutral, although Kelty skipper Tam O'Ware - who, unfortunately, was stretchered off later in the game - saw a goal chalked off for a push.

There wasn't much else to excite the crowd until Marvin Bartley's side edged ahead when Kieran McKechnie's shot was parried by Kyle Gourlay.

The Kelty keeper may feel he should have done better, but the ball fell loose and Hutchinson was there to make no mistake from close range.

Tidser's side responded well, however, and Craig Johnston - described as "outstanding" by his boss - was awarded a penalty after being fouled by Jack Brydon.

Central Fife Times: Craig Johnston is felled by Jack Brydon inside the box.Craig Johnston is felled by Jack Brydon inside the box. (Image: David Wardle.)

Central Fife Times: Lewis Moore (out of shot) scores his penalty to bring Kelty level.Lewis Moore (out of shot) scores his penalty to bring Kelty level. (Image: David Wardle.)

Moore stepped up to slot home from 12 yards, notching his second goal for the club since joining in the summer, and level the scores.

Three minutes after the restart, Kelty turned the game on its head when on-loan Aberdeen teenager, Alfie Bavidge, did well to work an opportunity to cross from the left and find Lyon, who headed home his second goal for the club.

Bavidge and Johnston were both unfortunate not extend the advantage further but, inside the final quarter-of-an-hour, O'Ware suffered a bad injury when he and Thomson threw themselves at Harvey Walker's cross to deny ex-Kelty forward, Kyle Doherty, an opportunity.

The centre back was stretchered off, and left the ground on crutches, and the stoppage ensured 12 minutes of time added on was played, in which Tidser swept in the third and clinching goal.

"I was going to hit it on my left, but they had two bodies in front of me, so I managed to swing at it with my right, and just tried to hit the target," Tidser continued.

"I say that to the boys all the time - hit the target and you never know. The third goal just puts the game to bed so I'm really pleased.

"I thought we were a wee bit unfortunate to be behind. I'd need to see it back, but I think Kyle could maybe have done better (for Queens' goal). However, he's been outstanding for us. He pulls out an unbelievable save at 2-1.

"All in all, it was a good day, three points. We park it now and move on to next week."

Moore added: "It was definitely a better performance than last week! Last week wasn't like us, and it shows the mentality of the boys coming back and putting on a good performance.

"It was more like us today, passing the ball, moving and, when it came to the chances, we took them."

Kelty Hearts: Gourlay, Walker (B. Owens 57), O'Ware (Corbett 79), Thomson, F. Owens, Lyon, Johnston, Tidser, O'Donnell, Bavidge (Biabi 69), Moore (McCluskey 79).

Subs not used: Daramola, Cunningham, L. Owens, Cameron, Campbell.

Goals: Moore (43, pen), Lyon (48), Tidser (90).

Booked: Lyon (67).

Queen of the South: Stone, Houston, Cochrane, McKechnie (Irving 90), Hutchinson, McClelland (Church 62), Ferguson, Logan, Gibson (Doherty 62), Johnstone (Walker 73), Brydon.

Subs not used: McKay, Connelly, MacIntyre, Ambrose, Botterill.

Goal: Hutchinson (40).

Booked: McClelland (41), Hutchinson (45).

Referee: Colin Whyte.

Attendance: 509.

Central Fife Times: Lewis O'Donnell challenges for the ball.Lewis O'Donnell challenges for the ball. (Image: David Wardle.)