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With Linfield being the only cross-border side left going into the fourth-round draw for the SPFL Trust Trophy, all eyes were on them.
The supporters of the other 15 clubs left in the tournament would have been hoping for a trip to Northern Ireland for a cup tie.
That did not come to pass but Kelty Hearts bagged the next best thing – the novelty of hosting them.
Linfield play at Windsor Park in Belfast but will travel to west Fife in December.
Here's your #SPFLTrustTrophy Round 4 fixtures⤵️ pic.twitter.com/Z41uR4PE7z
— SPFL Trust (@SPFLTrust) October 4, 2022
Managed by former Rangers striker David Healy they sit seventh in the NIFL Premiership after six matches but have two games in hand over the three sides above them.
The Blues have won four and lost two of their league matches so far but had a packed early season schedule which saw them come close to European group-stage football.
Linfield are the Northern Irish champions having pipped Cliftonville to the title by a point last season.
Amazingly, the two clubs matched each other result-for-result for the final 11 matches of the season after Linfield slipped up at Glentoran.
This is Linfield’s third time in the competition. An extra-time defeat to Queen of the South was their introduction to the cross-border tournament in 2016.
The next year they narrowly defeated Spartans before going out to Ray McKinnon’s Dundee United – holders at the time – thanks to a 95th-minute winner from a 17-year-old Logan Chalmers.
In the previous round of this year’s competition Linfield went behind to Buckie Thistle, in one of the more intriguing ties of the round.
They responded with a quick-fire double to win 2-1.
Beyond the Northern Ireland all-time record international goalscorer managing the side there are many others to have played in Scotland.
Most notably Daniel Finlayson who is currently on loan from St Mirren.
He was part of Kelty’s League 2 title-winning side, making 19 starts and another four appearances from the bench.
Forward Eetu Vertainen is on loan from St Johnstone for a second time and has scored three goals in five league appearances so far.
Kyle McClean who spent two years as a youngster at McDiarmid Park is also on the books at Windsor Park.
Elsewhere in the squad is Sam Roscoe – previously of Aberdeen, Alloa Athletic and Ayr United – and former Motherwell, Falkirk and Partick Thistle defender Ben Hall.
Midfielder Cammy Palmer was on loan at Partick Thistle and Clyde from Rangers before joining Linfield last year.
Lastly, Conor Pepper was a largely peripheral figure in John Hughes’ Inverness team before moving to Morton.
The draw in full:
Raith Rovers v Greenock Morton
Kelty Hearts v Linfield
Queen’s Park v Montrose
Arbroath v Dunfermline or Celtic B
Alloa Athletic v Queen of the South
Falkirk v Dundee
Elgin City v Clyde
Hamilton or Rangers B v Inverness
Ties will be played on the weekend of December 10/11.
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