Partick Thistle and Falkirk have hit out at a “cabal” of “selfish” Scottish Premiership clubs for the collapse of talks on league reconstruction.
The vote to end the lower leagues relegated Thistle to League One and denied Falkirk a shot at promotion to the Championship.
A panel, including representatives from both clubs, had been set up to look at proposals but could not find consensus.
Thistle criticised the “selfish behaviour” of some top-flight clubs.
“It is hard to see this a considered decision about reconstruction, it smacks more about the settling of scores within the Premiership,” the Firhill club said in a statement to fans.
“Yet again we were left to pick up the pieces due to thoughtless, selfish behaviour that showed no regard for fellow clubs.”
Partick Thistle were bottom of the Championship when football was suspended in Scotland and after the SPFL’s resolution to end the season was passed, the club was relegated despite sitting just two points behind Queen of the South with a game in hand.
Meanwhile, Falkirk will stay in League One having missed out on the title, and promotion, by one point from Raith Rovers with eight games left to play.
The 12 top-flight clubs and Dundee United met on Friday and concluded reconstruction could not progress, with six of them expressing concerns.
Falkirk chairman Gary Deans shared his “anger” in a statement, criticising what he called an “utter shambles” in Scottish football.
“Once again progress has been hampered by the short sightedness and self-preservation of a small cabal within Scotland’s top division,” he said, addressing the club’s fans.
“You will share my anger at this latest injustice, the failed promises and the general mismanagement that has occurred at the top of Scottish football for many years.
“The handling of this entire situation has been farcical ranging from the decisions made by the SPFL board to those clubs who have, what could only be charitably described as, misled and deceived,” Deans added.
Thistle also criticised the league for its input into the process, and chairman Jacqui Low wrote to her SPFL counterpart Murdoch MacLennan to raise concerns.
“The SPFL and some clubs, namely the six who were behind that decision yesterday, have now made it even more difficult for Partick Thistle Football Club to emerge unscathed from the crisis we now face,” the club continued in its statement.
“What’s galling is that it all stems from the arbitrary and unjust way the club was relegated, with no say in it, which effectively saw a members’ organisation inflict damage on us, one of its members, amid the most extraordinary circumstances.”
‘Dark day for Pyramid system’
Meanwhile the champions of the Highland League and Lowland League – Brora Rangers and Kelty Hearts – also criticised the breakdown of talks, which will deny both the chance to enter play-offs for a place in League Two.
Instead the fourth tier’s bottom club Brechin City will be spared a two-legged tie with either Brora or Kelty for the right to play in the SPFL.
League Two clubs had previously said they would only vote for a structure of three leagues of 14 teams, denying Brora and Kelty a chance at promotion.
In a joint statement, the pair described it as a “dark moment” for the SFA pyramid scheme, adding the saga leaves a “sour taste”.
“Naturally we will be seeking and taking advice on board and we will ask for some answers, mainly to the SPFL 4-way agreement rule whereby any change to the Pyramid play-off rule would have to be agreed by all 4 parties, the SFA, SPFL, SLFL and SHFL,” the statement continued.
“We would very much like clarity on that rule.”