Spartans have been kicked out of the Lowland League Cup after they named an ineligible player on their substitute’s bench, despite the player in question not setting foot on the pitch.
The Edinburgh side listed 45 year old goalkeeping coach Mark Cairns as a substitute for Saturday’s 4-0 quarter final win over Preston Athletic.
Despite not being involved, he was not eligible to play and his inclusion in the match day squad was a breach of competition rules.
In a brief statement via the Lowland League’s social network Facebook page, read: “Following a disciplinary hearing the League can confirm that Spartans FC have been expelled from The Scottish Sun Lowland League Cup.”
Spartans chairman Craig Graham, issued a statement via the official club site, admitting: “As a result of having our unsigned goalkeeping coach Mark Cairns named as a substitute on the team lines on Saturday we have been ejected from the Lowland League Cup. I did the team lines myself and noted Mark as a trialist and didn’t realise that trialists could not play in the competition.
“Personally, and on behalf of the Board, I apologise to our coaches, our players and supporters for this error. Obviously it brings the season to a premature end to the season for our Lowland League side. It has been a season with a number of superb highs but has ended with this disappointment. It does give us extra resolve to come back next season with added determination.”
It’s not the first time that Spartans have came a cropper in relation to ineligible players. In 2011, they were booted out of the Scottish Cup after fielding striker Keith McLeod in their second round win over Culter, without the player not being properly registered.
And in 2008 both Spartans and Elgin City fielded ineligible players in their Scottish Cup third round tie, which Elgin City won 2-1. Spartans won the replay 2-1.
Preston Athletic will now face East Kilbride in the semi final this Saturday, without manager Willie Kirk who left the club at the end of the season to take up the managerial job at FA Women’s Super League side Bristol Academy.