'Enough is enough': Partick Thistle follow Henry McLeish in slamming Scottish football shutdown that the club 'saw coming'
The Jags fought vehemently against their demotion from the Championship last season, and joined Hearts in challenging the early finish to season and subsequent relegation.
But while the Hampden announcement yesterday allows the Tynecastle side to continue to operate with Covid tests in place, the Jags have been put in cold storage despite being a full-time club in League One.
Football was shutdown outwith the top two tiers in Scotland – a decision based on the part-time and full-time status of clubs and players in each division, according to SFA chief executive Ian Maxwell.
But statement from Firhill last night said ‘we saw this coming’ and criticised the decision which leaves the Jags and other full-time clubs in the lower leagues like Falkirk, out of action and out of pocket with the Jags considering lay-off players and staff during the transfer window
Echoing criticism of the decision from former First Minister Henry McLeish and Stenhousemuir chairman Iain McMenemy the Jags said: “News that all football below the Championship has been shut down is the culmination of a series of circumstances that we, as a board, foretold last April and have fought to avoid ever since.
“Once demoted, we fought for a restructure of leagues to allow us, as an ambitious full-time club, to continue playing if football was stopped again. If that had happened, we would still be playing today.
“At the season start, the SPFL made it clear that clubs who were unable to play at any point would be penalised. Yet here we are, prepared to play but unable to do so as we are in a league of predominantly part-time clubs. We saw this coming, we raised it – why didn’t the SPFL listen?
“We warned last week that the football authorities’ distribution of monies, which penalised Thistle by £350k, could come back to bite us if games were stopped. Less than a week later, here we are without the financial cushion other full-time clubs have been given. We are already looking at furloughing staff and players which is an awful step for a professional club to have to take and could impact our ability to compete when football returns."
The Jags insisted its support “for any measures the Scottish Government puts in place to stop the spread of Covid-19. In the current pandemic, the priority must be on saving lives and protecting the NHS.”
But it added: “All we want is to be given the same opportunity to play as other full-time clubs. But, once again, we are being pushed to the edge and left to wonder whether anyone in any position of authority in Scottish football will do something to help other than simply issue warm but empty words.
“Partick Thistle’s experience should serve as a lesson to clubs who thought we should take a hit for football with the demotion and suck it up. But it’s now gone way beyond that, enough is enough.”