THE New Saints’ eight-year reign at the top of the Welsh Premier League has come to an end after Connah’s Quay Nomads were handed the title on Tuesday.

It means the league leaders have won their first title, a Champions League spot and Saints will head into the Europa League qualifiers alongside Bala Town.

Saints owner Mike Harris said he feels there must have been a fairer way to determine the outcome of the season.

He said: “At the end of the day, the only way I can describe it is as a bit of an empty championship.

“If that’s what they want to do, that’s what they want to do. All I can say is congratulations to Connah’s Quay Nomads, but they won’t be keeping the title next season.

“There’s no sour grapes, it’s just it is what it is. I don’t really know what further options there were really.

“I probably don’t agree with the way the decision has ultimately been made, I’ve said before that I wouldn’t have been happy even if we were awarded it in this way.

“Technically, if there would have been any chance for it to be played, that option should have been kept open.

“It just proves how far the Welsh game is behind England – England has every intention to get back and play, it’s a very easy decision for them to back out of it.

“I think the difficulty of a full return would have been costly, but there must have been a more sporting way to decide the season.

“But again, it is what it is, it’s an empty championship and the real competition will start again next year.”

Saints boss Saint Ruscoe echoed his boss’s sentiments.

He said: “It couldn’t have gone any other way really – every other league is doing it,” he said.

“It’s not a shock or a surprise, but it’s disappointing because seasons don’t finish on 26 games. But we’re not in a position to carry on for safety and everything that goes with it.”

“We’ve got to be realistic and that’s why they’ve made the decision.

“I’d be more disappointed if we’d finished the season with 32 games and lost the league. The league hasn’t really finished – it’s a one-off.

“We’ve underachieved this season – we’ve lost games in the league and we we’re inconsistent, through injuries and a loss of form.

“You have to take your hat off to Nomads and other teams because they’re improving year-on-year, and the boys had a reality check this year.

“I won’t switch off – I’ll be hopefully getting straight back to it and planning and we can get the season in the not too distant future.”