KELTY HEARTS captain Reece Lyon has departed the club to sign for Queen of the South.

Last night, it was confirmed that the 24-year-old had joined the Dumfries side, where he will team-up once more with their new manager, Peter Murphy.

Lyon arrived at New Central Park last summer on a one-year deal after leaving hometown club, Greenock Morton, and became a mainstay of the team.

The midfielder made 41 appearances for Michael Tidser's men, scoring eight goals, and helped the club achieve their highest-ever league placing of sixth in League One.

He has, however, departed and will link-up again with Murphy, who left Annan Athletic to replace Marvin Bartley, who left the Dumfries side at the end of the season, in which they finished one place and three points behind Kelty.

A club statement said: "Kelty Hearts FC can confirm that midfielder Reece Lyon will Join Queen of the South for the 2024-25 Season.

"Everyone at Kelty Hearts would like to thank Reece for his time at Kelty Hearts and wish him all the best for the future."

Lyon had a productive 2022/23 campaign on loan at Annan, helping them win promotion from League Two in the play-offs, and Murphy told his club's website: "Reece is an exceptional young talent who we are delighted to announce has agreed to take us forward at Queen of the South.

"In the 2022/23 season Reece was named in the League Two Team of the Year and has had an impressive season in League One last year with Kelty Hearts. Reece will go from strength to strength being full time and help the club drive forward in the coming seasons."

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After coming through the academy at Morton, for whom he made more than 100 appearances during a nine-year association with them, former Cappielow team-mate Tidser, ahead of his first season as player / manager, swooped to bring him to Kelty last summer.

At that time, Lyon told Press Sport that he felt he "needed a change" as he was "losing the love for the game", with the aim of trying to get his "career going again".

Following an injury to Tam O'Ware, who then left the club to focus on a coaching role with Queen's Park, before returning for the latter part of the campaign, Lyon was handed the captaincy and, in January, was subject to speculation linking him with a move away.

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At the time, he said: "I've seen all the stuff but I'm just concentrating on Kelty until anything otherwise. I'm a contracted player here until the summer, so I'll just be concentrating on Kelty."

He went on to help Kelty make a push for the promotion play-offs - which was ended after a penultimate day defeat by Montrose, who claimed the final place within them - and scored his final goal in a 2-2 draw at champions Falkirk seven days prior.

After that match, he spoke positively of the job Tidser had done, and said he had "enjoyed every minute" of his time in maroon.

His contribution to Kelty's campaign was recognised by his team-mates, who named him as their players player of the year at the club's end of season awards.

Lyon's departure comes after on-loan players Alfie Bavidge, from Aberdeen, Lewis O'Donnell, from Dundee United, Brody Paterson, from Hartlepool United, Brad McKay, from Falkirk, Joe McGlynn, from Hamilton Academical, and Reuben McAllister, from Hibernian, brought their spells with the club to a close at the end of the season, whilst veteran defender, Jason Thomson, announced his retirement from senior football.

On the plus side, Kyle Gourlay, Lewis Moore and Ross Cunningham all agreed contract extensions.

Meanwhile, Livingston have announced that they will visit Kelty for a pre-season friendly.

The Lions, relegated from the Premiership, are scheduled to travel to New Central Park on Tuesday July 2.