Thornton Hibs: Top scorer Joe Kinninmonth leaves Memorial Park outfit to move up to premier division
Kinninmonth, who has netted 30 goals in 70 Thornton appearances over two seasons, jumps up two leagues having helped Craig Gilbert's team finish sixth in the second division in 2022-23.
Thornton secretary Graeme Turnbull said: “Joe certainly will be missed but I hope he has every success.
"If I’m being brutally honest with you Joe should have scored 70 in 70 for us. I think his conversion ratio would be one out of three.
"But I think he has the attributes to cope with going up two divisions. He’s got great technical ability and he’s a great trainer who hardly ever missed a session.
"His decision making has to be better. He still has things to learn, although he’s actually been at that level before with Hill of Beath because that’s where we got him from.
"He wasn’t getting a regular run with them so he came to us, has done well for us and I’d like to think that we’ve done well for him as well.
"I’m sure Crossgates will be looking to finish in the top two or three of that league so with all the expectations comes a wee bit of extra pressure. It will be interesting to see how Joe and others blend in there.
"I think it’s now time for us to get some younger blood in and build again."
Turnbull stressed that the lack of money at Thornton meant his club had been ‘punching above its weight’ for a number of years.
He added: "I think one player came on the market this week from Hill of Beath and I think St Andrews have offered £3,000 for him.
"To give you an analogy, St Andrews are probably shopping at Asda and we’re at the soup kitchen.”
In a mixed bag of a league season featuring nine straight wins in the second half to get into promotion contention, Thornton then fell out of the mix with five straight defeats as a fixture backlog caused by multiple postponements caught up with them.
Turnbull added: "We went on a good run when I think everybody was focused but then all of a sudden I think we hit the wall.
“I think the run of five defeats was just caused by injuries and the fact we had a lot of catching up to do. We went about two months without a game from Christmas or New Year time.
"So we ended up playing three times a week and with guys doing a full-time job as well.
"After playing on a Wednesday and a Saturday then turning up for training on a Monday, the management couldn’t really do a lot with them as the guys were knackered.
"There was a disappointment not getting in the promotion places because it was in our own hands. With the games we had left late in the season we thought going up was realistic but we sort of did an Arsenal if you like.”
Thornton received a boost this week when left back Dean McMillan – who has been at the club for seven years – signed a one-year contract extension to June 2024.