The New Saints could face alternative opposition in the Irn Bru Challenge Cup competition after it was revealed Livingston fielded an ineligible player in the last round.

Saints earned a quarter-final showdown with the Scottish League One side after their impressive 3-1 victory over Forfar Athletic 10 days ago.

Livingston have since been charged with fielding an ineligible player in their victory at Northern Irish side Crusaders.

Alan Lithgow played the full 90 minutes in the Scottish side’s 2-1 victory in the competition’s revised format, which included Welsh and Northern Irish sides for the first time this season.

The 28-year-old defender was sent off for violent conduct in Livi’s game against East Fife on September 24 and was banned for two games.  

The punishment applied to all competitions including their cup tie with Crusaders on October 7.

Livingston have been requested to attend an SPFL hearing on October 24, which could see the club ejected from the competition and Crusaders re-instated.

A similar breach of SFA rule last season saw Dundee United docked three points and fined £30,000 after naming two ineligible players in their squad for a game against Inverness Caledonian Thistle.

According to SPFL rules, the result of a match can be anNed and there is provision for the board to impose any sanctions it sees fit.

Punitive measures available to Scottish officials vary in their severity, however, and range from a warning as to future conduct to fines and the powers to award a match to a club with a score it deems appropriate.

Both The New Saints and Crusaders say they will await the outcome of the disciplinary hearing before making any comment on the matter.

If Scottish officials decide to award the tie to Crusaders, it could mean Saints making the trip across the Irish Sea instead.

Crusaders are top of the Northern Irish Premiership, having lost just one of their 11 league games.

Meanwhile, Saints boss Craig Harrison looked back at the 5-0 success over Llandudno – and wasn’t entirely satisfied, despite the result.

He felt his side were lucky not to be behind, but knew once they were ahead, the Saints would be in full control.

He said: “It was tough for the first 20 minutes or so. But once we got the goal, we were in full control.

“In all honesty, they should’ve been 1-0 up from our mistake. But we want to play football out from the back – I encourage them not to smash it out.

“Sometimes it’s going to happen, but Paul Harrison has made a fantastic save. From us scoring the goal, that turned the game on its head.

“They’re good on the counter attack, so it was important to control the game and possession and not switch off. I told the players to be patient. We’re really happy with the lads chipping in goals.

“Newtown will be a tough game at the weekend, and though they’re going through a tough patch, we need to make there’s no complacency.

“I imagine Chris Hughes and his lads will be thinking what a place to kickstart their season with a win over TNS after 11 straight league wins.

“We’ll make sure the lads will be on it in midweek in training.

“Saturday ticked a lot of boxes with a clean sheet. Goalkeeper Paul Harrison doesn’t get the credit he deserves.”