PARTICK Thistle have been parachuted into the top division of Scottish women’s football following the collapse of Forfar Farmington.
The Station Park club issued a statement yesterday confirming they cannot raise a squad for the new SWPL1 season, which starts on September 5.
Forfar, who have been in the top league since 2006, lost nearly all their players to other clubs over the summer – but hoped the appointment of new manager Eddie Wolecki Black would attract players to the club. It didn’t happen and a young side bereft of first team experience was hammered 10-0 by SWPL2 Dundee United in the opening League Cup game on Sunday.
That prompted a Forfar request to withdraw from SWPL1 the following day and in a statement yesterday Scottish Women’s Football chief executive Aileen Campbell said: “This is obviously a very disappointing situation for all involved – Forfar Farmington have been instrumental in helping to grow the women’s game in Scotland.”
Former Scottish Government Minister for Public Health and Sport Campbell only started in her new role on Tuesday and she added: “We will continue to work with the club as they move to concentrate on the youth element of their game and continue to provide valuable football opportunities for women’s and girls’ football in Angus and beyond.
Forfar, who were due to play Hibernian on Sunday have also withdrawn from their League Cup group, which means Dundee United’s win last Sunday has been erased.
Thistle only missed out on promotion last season on goal difference and their addition will bring the number of teams in the expanded SWPL1 back up to ten. However, only seven will now contest SWPL2 as the third tier Championship has already started.
Thistle manager Brian Graham, who combines his role with playing as striker for the men’s team, said: “We are surprised but very pleased.
“There will undoubtedly be challenges ahead but we are up for them.”