Lowland League fourth for third-placed East Stirlingshire
East Stirlingshire’s season is officially over and Kelty Hearts have been crowned Lowland League champions.
The division’s officials opted to end the season on Monday evening, and settled on a points per game average to decide upon the league standings, crowning the Barry Ferguson’s side – while demoting the Shire a league position into fourth.
Derek Ure’s team had secured 53 points from 26 games, two more than BSC Glasgow who have played four matches less.
The decision has frustrated the Shire who have written to the league body for clarification on next season’s Cup qulifications, as well as Bonnyrigg Rose who were hoping to play the Shire on the final day of the season and well within a shout of the title, just six points off the lead with a game in hand.
There was an initial magnanimous reaction from the runners-up, followed by a strongly worded statement on Tuesday afternoon highlighting their frustration at the decision-making process and that in the SPFL proper.
The Shire met the news with a statement on a “thankless decision” – “whichever way the League was concluded it was always going to please some clubs and leave other unhappy”. The Shire have moved to address their concerns and went on: “Given we currently don’t know how qualifications into cup competitions will be decided and if the much publicised SPFL league reconstruction will happen the club have written to the Lowland League to highlight that given we are the only club to drop a place under the points per game decision we would be concerned if we were denied a cup position or any inclusion in a restructured league next season. To clarify we highly doubt it will but we feel that we have to lodge our concerns prior to ongoing discussions.
“Well done to champions Kelty Hearts who have been fantastic opponents throughout the season and we are delighted the decision made sees no club relegated from the league this year.
“Finally we wish to thanks all the players, staff and supporters who have put all their efforts into the season past. Over the coming weeks we will have a virtual player of the year vote, prize giving and goal of the season awards.”
The league also confirmed there would be no relegation from the Lowland League – a decision which may have a knock-on effect for Bo’ness United and Camelon in the East of Scotland set-up.