KELTY HEARTS hitman Nathan Austin has joined former East Fife club on a short-term loan ahead of the Ligue 1 restart this weekend.
The 27-year-old, who grew up in nearby Leven, has signed for the New Bayview side, led by former Pars midfielder Darren Young, until March 31 as uncertainty persists as for his parent club’s campaign.
On March 2, Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced that matches in the Scottish Cup, SPFL League One and League Two, and Scottish Women’s Premier League (SWPL) One, could resume after their suspension on January 11. .
All football under the SPFL Championship – which alongside the elite was allowed to continue if PCR tests were carried out – has been halted due to concerns over increasing cases of COVID-19.
Although League One, League Two, SWPL One and Scottish Cup matches may resume with weekly testing, the Lowland League – of which Kelty is the best and the defending champion – remains on hold.
So far, there is no indication whether they will be able to return to the action and finish the season, which has allowed Austin to temporarily switch to Barry Ferguson’s side.
The forward was playing amateur football when East Fife boss Willie Aitchison recruited him and became a fan favorite of Methil’s squad.
In three years at New Bayview between 2013 and 2016, Austin scored 43 goals in 107 appearances and was part of their Ligue 2 champion squad in the 2015/16 campaign.
This led to Falkirk, then in the league, to make a move for his services and, in a nearly two-year spell with the Bairns, he scored 12 goals in 44 games.
After leaving Falkirk Stadium in December 2017, he moved north to Inverness Caledonian Thistle, where he scored 13 times in 47 games before returning to Fife to join Kelty in the summer of 2019.
Even though the season has been cut short, Austin has hit the net an incredible 48 times in all competitions last season and had scored 11 times so far this time before the stoppage of the season.
On Tuesday, clubs had until April 23 to complete 18 matches which, if brought together by all clubs in each division, would allow matches for a division to be published.
If any clubs are unable to complete their 18 matches by that date, then the post-split match dates for that division would be used to ensure that each club has completed 18 matches by May 6, in time to participate in the promotion and relegation play-offs. .
Austin enters the East Fife squad for Saturday’s Clyde game and will also be available for games with the Cove Rangers and Montrose.