Former Dundee United star Ryan Gauld is celebrating promotion to the top flight in Portugal after Liga Pro was called today.
The decision was made to end the second tier and honour the current standings following an emergency Liga Portugal conference call involving representatives from Benfica, Porto, Sporting, Tondela, Gil Vicente, Leixões, Mafra and Cova da Piedade.
That means Gauld’s Farense – who were sitting in the runners-up spot behind Nacional after 24 matches – claim the second promotion place and will be playing in Liga NOS next season after an 18-year absence.
A Farense statement read: “This situation can rob us of fireworks, the crowd and hugs. It can rob us of the brilliance of a common celebration, but it will never deny the merit of this group.
“This was certainly not the way we imagined ourselves to celebrate for so long.
“This was not the ideal context or situation, but we recognise the courage of the Government, the League and the Portuguese Football Federation, which, in circumstances of absolute social and economic calamity, were able to seek equitable solutions and take difficult decisions.
“But we went up because we were better. We went up because of the 24 weeks of matches played, we were in a promotion place for 22 of them.
“We went up because we were the team that spent the most time in first place. We went up because of merit, effort and work.”
The government have given the green light to plans which will see the 2019/20 Liga NOS and Portuguese Cup played to a finish.
However, there was no provision for the lower leagues to be completed, prompting Tuesday’s announcement.
Gauld, who joined the Faro-based club from Sporting last summer, was arguably the club’s talisman during their promotion campaign, hitting a particularly rich vein of form during what has turned out to be the decisive period prior to football being halted due to the Covid-19 outbreak.
The 24-year-old notched seven goals and one assist for in the seven fixtures before the enforced shut-down and, speaking recently, admitted he was desperate for a crack at the top-flight after failing to make the grade in Lisbon.
Gauld said: “Farense belongs in the Primeira League and we are committed to making the city’s dream come true.
“The people love their club and have an identity and passion which make this a special place to play.
“The only thing I think about is helping Farense to progress and getting the opportunity to represent this club in the top league next season.”