Graham Tatters admits Kelty Hearts could be the team to watch as Elgin City regroup for their own League Two title charge next term.
A last-gasp goal saw the energetic Moray men suffer a 3-2 aggregate defeat against Edinburgh City in extra-time at Ainslie Park on Tuesday and exit the League One promotion play-offs at the semi-final stage.
The feeling following heartache at Elgin is they are determined to go on and win the title next season.
However, with Barry Ferguson’s Lowland League champions Kelty Hearts being hot favourites to see off lowly Brechin in next week’s pyramid play-off final, City chairman Tatters fears that winning the title might be that bit tougher, having seen big-spending Queen’s Park run away with this year’s fourth tier.
Money talks in League Two
He said: “If Kelty come in, they will be strong. I think they will try and do a Cove Rangers – they will really push themselves to get up.
“If you have got money, you can buy your way out of this league. If you have the money you can do that, but we don’t have that much cash to play with.”
Tatters and manager Gavin Price have already got most of their squad signed up for the 2021-22 campaign, with defender Darryl McHardy the latest to commit with a two-year extension penned last week.
Talks are ongoing to further keep the group together, while Price has identified targets he feel can bolster his options.
The chairman said: “Before we can look to bring people in, we need to work out who else is staying or going.
“We are waiting to see if two guys will commit to the club and that will determine our budget for bringing in others.”
Yoga will certainly be staying for next term
Price has hailed the chairman and board’s efforts in making sure the players have all the resources they need to just focus on football.
The introduction of yoga sessions was a winning idea as Elgin secured a joint-second spot in the division.
Tatters explained: “Due to Covid, it was getting more and more difficult to get training facilities, so we started doing yoga online, so everyone could work together and that help with the camaraderie.
“The guys were really pleased and the stretching improved their flexibility. It certainly helped.
“I remember many years ago Pop Robson, who played for Newcastle. His father was a ballet instructor and he started doing ballet exercises with him.
“He became the top scorer in what was the English First Division. He moved on to West Ham and got a lucrative deal, so it shows that these things can help.”
As well as the yoga, Price was quick to praise the Elgin board for helping them prepare as best they could for the play-offs by giving them a good pre-match base and meals.
“When you appoint a manager, you have to give him as much resources as possible because he’s the person who suffers.
“If you don’t give him the help then you might as well get rid of him, but we try to give him everything he wants and that’s what we try and do.
“There’s a limit, of course, because we don’t have the financial backing that some of the other clubs in the league have.”
Nightmare end to season for the high-flying Black and Whites
Reflecting on the dramatic late loser at Ainslie Park, Tatters said: “The most disappointing thing was the manner in which we lost. We were never in any real trouble.
“A mistake led to their winner and it was too late to get back into the game. It was a nightmare.”
Meanwhile, Elgin have announced five academy players – Charlie Hay, Dylan Lawrence, Fin Allen, Jamie Tinnock and Matt Jamieson – will join their first-team squad for next season.