No complaints from TNS boss Scott Ruscoe over finish
The New Saints chief Scott Ruscoe refused to play the blame game after his side relinquished the Welsh top flight title for the first time in nine years.
The decision made by the Football Association of Wales, after consultation with clubs, was to conclude the Cymru Premier with no further fixtures played, awarding the title to Connah's Quay Nomads – who led the Saints by four points – on a points per game basis.
The Park Hall club wished to play out the remainder of the season when safe to do so as Ruscoe backed his side to overhaul the Nomads lead in the remaining six games.
But Ruscoe, who has two titles, two Welsh Cups and a Welsh League Cup triumph to his name in three seasons at the helm in Oswestry, says the decision had to be 'fair' to the entire division and looked for no excuses.
"We haven't got anyone to blame but ourselves for being in second position," Ruscoe said.
"It's obviously not as cut and dry as other seasons where we've won by 14 or 20 points or whatever. The season isn't done on 26 games.
"But if we were top then we'd be in a position to say 'it's done, we're number one'.
"You have to be fair to everybody in the league."
Next season will be the first time since 2011/12 that TNS will not have Champions League qualifying action to look forward to in the summer – the continental prize for top spot.
They will instead enter the Europa League qualifiers, which is likely to have an impact on Ruscoe's playing budget for next season, alongside the uncertain financial impact of COVID-19. UEFA have been in contact with its member clubs regarding the evolving situation.
The former midfielder can, after learning his side's fate for the 2019/20 season, turn his focus on firmer plans for next season. More than a dozen members of the first-team squad are out of contract and talks have been on hold with the club in the dark over their situation.
Players and staff remain on furlough leave at Park Hall.
Players had been expected to maintain a base fitness levels from home in case the season was to conclude, but Ruscoe – whose side failed to win any of their last four league games before the March lockdown – said constant running and cardio work can only suffice for so long.
The boss added: "They've trained on their own in individual programmes but we're into the ninth week now.
"To just keep running and running is counter-productive because you can become good at middle-distance running but that's not what football is about, it's short, intense bursts of speed. I just asked them to keep ticking over."