NEW YEAR sprint honours returned to East Kilbride on Tuesday after Greg Kelly made history at Musselburgh Racecourse.

The 19-year-old had already won the world's oldest footrace two years ago.

But he had to settle for fourth last year behind his East Kilbride AC team-mate Callum McWilliam.

Both athletes had impressed during the heats at Meadowmill on Sunday, although several others, including Hawick's James Parker, Kelso's Douglas Young and Pitreavie's Billy Doyle, had also caught the eye.

In front of packed stands at Musselburgh on New Year's Day it was Kelly who used his speed and experience to edge out Young in the final metres to collect the £8,000 first prize.

The achievement of winning the 150th running of the race as well as becoming the first athlete to win twice in more than 70 years wasn't lost on the student.

He said: "Becoming a double winner was something I really wanted because it hasn’t been done for a long time.

"I was very nervous, but I had a belief that I would do it and you need that - there can’t be any doubt."

Of the 12 winners and eight fastest losers who progressed from the opening day's heats there was little more than three or four metres separating them all on times.

While both Kelly and McWilliam had won their opening races comfortably enough on the synthetic track, so had Parker and Young.

Murray Blair from Lasswade had also looked comfortable.

And nobody was discounting the chances of Peebles teenager Rianna Sterricks and the more experienced Megan Busby-Bell - both winning their heats well.

But the move to grass for the cross-ties and the finals can change the dynamics.

However, both Kelly and McWilliam have already proven themselves on the racecourse in the past two years.

And they were understandably inserted as favourites along with former Gala rugby player Parker.

Kelly claimed the opening cross-tie without too much trouble in 11.79 seconds - easing off as he crossed the line around two metres ahead of the unconventional Alessandro Schenin from Giffnock.

Veteran Cameron Smith, who had won the veterans' 90 metres final on the opening day, was just 100th of a second out of making it through to the final in third.

Former finalist Stacey Downie from West Linton, who had been beaten in the dip by McWilliam in her heat, finished fifth in the cross-tie.

Despite being considered one of the country's leading 400 metres hopes, teenager Billy Doyle was impressive yet again as he claimed cross-tie two in 11.89 seconds.

Young from Kelso was half a metre back in second place to qualify for the final.

Although cross-tie three was the slowest at 12 seconds, McWilliam and Parker were judged to have dead-heated as they crossed the line together.

Murray Blair staked his claim for the title with an impressive win in cross-tie four.

The youngster from Lasswade clocked 11.85 to hold off Carlisle's Joseph Connelly.

Busby-Bell was a metre down in third with Sterricks a further two metres back in fifth.

The slow time of cross-tie three meant Parker and McWilliam were pushed into the outside lanes for the final.

And, while not conclusive, the seeding probably played its part in them finishing down in sixth and eighth, respectively.

Kelly, from the back mark of 5.5 metres, had managed to edge past both McWilliam and Parker, from their 8.5 metre starts, going past the 70 metre mark.

Only Young in lane seven, running from 9.25 metres, posed a threat going into the final 20 metres but Kelly held his form well to claim the title with a time of 11.50 seconds.

Schenin was inches behind Young in third with Blair taking fourth just ahead of Doyle.