HAT-TRICK hero Nathan Austin believes Kelty Hearts can silence the critics by winning the Lowland League.

The 25-year-old helped Barry Ferguson’s team in a 7-0 thrashing of Vale of Leithen at Victoria Park to move into second in the table.

Austin, who has now scored 10 in the league, said: “We have all read the comments about who we have signed and us trying to buy the title, but that has galvanised us as a team.

“Make no mistake, the reason I came to Kelty Hearts was to win the league.

“The manager brought me here to score goals and I’m pleased I’m repaying his confidence in me.”

Also on target for Kelty were Stephen Husband, Sean McKirdy, Scott Linton and Daniel Ashe.

A Ruari Paton strike earned East Kilbride a 1-0 win over East Stirlingshire at the Falkirk Stadium.

Neil McLaughlin’s brace and a Ross McNeil strike renewed Caledonian Braves’ challenge.

The 3-0 win over Stirling University delighted manager Ricky Waddell. He said: “That was a good performance and a good win for us today.

“We’ve been on the wrong end of a couple of bad results so it was important to pick up the points.”

Cameron Dawson’s goal gave 10-man Spartans a 1-0 win over struggling Gretna at Ainslie Park.

Leeroy Makovora was red carded for Dougie Samuel’s team with quarter of an hour remaining.

A late Scott Taylor Mackenzie strike earned Gala Fairydean Rovers a share of the points against Civil Service Strollers.

Jack Downie and Mark McConnell had twice fired the home team in front with Fernando Mendes cancelling out the opener before the interval.

And early Lee Wells gave Dalbeattie Star a valuable 1-0 win over Edinburgh University at Islecroft Park.