PLAYERS and staff at The New Saints must now reflect on the season after it was curtailed last week, says manager Scott Ruscoe.

The JD Cymru Premier season was cut short by six games last week, after it was put on hold because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

An early end to the season saw Saints’ eight-year reign as champions come to an end, with Connah’s Quay Nomads having the title handed to them.

TNS will again feature in European competition next season, as their second-place finish means they will be entered into the Europa League qualifying stages, which is something Ruscoe is looking forward to.

“Of course, it’s European competition again for us which is vital – yes we’re disappointed about coming second in the league, but it’s not like we lost the league over 32 games,” he said. “We still had six games to play, so we’ve got to look at it in a positive way.

“We’ve got to reflect on the season now and how well we did as staff, players and everyone else at the club.

“We haven’t been consistent enough – I think at times we were excellent and other times we were below average, and I think that showed in the results.

“I messaged the players straight after we heard the news – obviously we’re going through contract negotiations and things as well, so I’ve managed to be in touch with most of them. We had a squad of 27 players this season so it’s hard to speak to each of them individually, but I’m sure they’re all feeling the same.

“I can imagine they feel disappointed and feel as though it’s a shame the season had to come to an end in the way it did.”

Swansea City and Cardiff City, two of Wales’ clubs which play in the English system, were given permission to return to training this week, but the Football Association of Wales is yet to permit a return to training for sides playing in the Welsh pyramid.

Ruscoe added: “As soon as we get notification from the Welsh FA about when we can train and when the season might start, we can then figure out how long it’s going to take us to get fit and ready.

“The other thing we have to bear in mind is European competition – obviously after qualifying for the Europa League, we have to look at when we will be playing in that.

"We don’t know if there’s going to be some sort of crossover or whether it could have implications on the upcoming season by causing it to be pushed back, we really don’t know.

“We know this week there should be news for the English Football League and the Premier League about when they can go back, so we just have to wait and see.

“It’s difficult because you can’t really plan – you can plan squad-wise, but apart from that we have to wait to hear news before we work out what we need to do.

“It was a bit frustrating, but because our league is predominantly part-time, it’s difficult for players who have other matters to worry about at the moment, so the stance taken by our league is completely understandable.”