Irvine Victoria 1-2 Bellshill Athletic: Bellshill boss Gary Elliott lauds veteran striker Kris Jarvie after he scores winner

Veteran striker Kris Jarvie headed in Mark Kyle’s cross from the right to net the winner for Bellshill Athletic as they triumphed 2-1 at Irvine Victoria on Saturday to again show the progress being made under manager Gary Elliott who was appointed in October.

Gary Elliott is having a positive impact at Bellshill Athletic

Victory in the West of Scotland League Conference A clash has moved ninth placed Bellshill onto 29 points from 21 games going into the winter shutdown, with West of Scotland League games due to resume on January 8.

Gaffer Elliott, who has signed 15 players from the amateur ranks to supplement veterans like Jarvie, said: “I’ve definitely seen improvements in the boys I have brought in, especially the ones that have made the step up from amateur.

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"They are getting fitter and adapting well to the new level really. They are definitely looking the part and we’re playing much more attacking football now which is what I wanted to do from day one.

"We couldn’t do that because of the situation we were in. We had to build a brand new team overnight so it was always going to take time but it’s starting to fall into place now.

"Kris is a veteran striker who’s been in the junior game for years whose last club was Newmains Juniors.

"He was released, we signed him and he’s had a massive impact on us.

"He has helped the boys, especially the ones who have made the step up from amateur.

"Jarvie’s just like a natural mentor for those boys and I’ve seen them coming on leaps and bounds since he’s signed.

"Kris is just a cracking guy to have about as well, good in the dressing room and keeps everybody calm and focused.

"We’ve also got Jordan Conlon, ex-Thorniewood and Lanark, who has given us experience in the middle of the park as well.”

Goalkeepers Aidan McCormack and Ben McDougall have also been added from Cumbernauld Colts under-20s and Bellshill under-21s respectively.

The Irvine game featured a goalless first half before Darren McPhie opened the scoring for ’Hill after 55 minutes.

An own goal within three minutes by Anthony Rea levelled matters before Jarvie’s 72nd minute winner earned Bellshill the three points.

"We were much happier on Saturday,” Ellliott said. “We deserved to win the game.

"We made more chances overall. Irvine were quite decent as well so it wasn’t easy as they had their chances too.

"We had our moments in the game where we had to defend as well. That’s the least we’ve conceded in a match which is a big positive.

"But it was a good way to end the year. The boys were buzzing.

"It would have been good to keep playing but at the same time we’ll just embrace the break and the time off, ready to go in January with Saltcoats – who we have already beaten – at home on January 8.”

Bellshill’s local rivals Thorniewood United are fifth in Conference B with 39 points from 20 games after Declan Brown’s goal gave them a 1-0 league win at Port Glasgow Juniors on Saturday.