Dundee United have vowed to “robustly defend” themselves against the legal action that threatens their promotion to the Premiership.
In a statement issued jointly with League One champions Raith Rovers and League Two winners Cove Rangers, the Tangerines came out fighting.
It was the shock move by Hearts, backed by Partick Thistle, to try to scupper promotion that prompted the strong response from all three sides.
Claiming success for Hearts and Thistle in the courtroom would be “ruinous” and “catastrophic,” the statement said: “On Wednesday Dundee United, Raith Rovers and Cove Rangers were served with a petition lodged in the Court of Session by fellow SPFL member clubs, Heart of Midlothian and Partick Thistle, which, if successful, could prevent our clubs’ promotions, and potentially have catastrophic financial implications for every SPFL member club as well.
“Whilst we are extremely unhappy that we have been drawn into this legal action, we can confirm that we immediately instructed external lawyers to act on our behalf and to protect our clubs’ interests.
“Since the SPFL resolution was passed by 81% of member clubs on 15th April 2020, which confirmed us all as title winners who were to be promoted, we have undertaken extensive and costly preparations for a new season in new leagues, including obtaining major financial commitments from our supporters, business partners and stakeholders.
“Our removal from those leagues would be ruinous on and off the field.
“We have each had a highly successful season, brought to a premature end by something bigger than our clubs and bigger than our sport.
“Our status as champions of our respective leagues is not being contested, and nor should the promotion which has always, and should always, come with it.
“The legal action that has been raised by Heart of Midlothian and Partick Thistle not only threatens the financial stability of the SPFL, but also its individual member clubs.
“For all of these reasons, we must and will robustly defend our position.
“As legal proceedings are now underway, we intend to make no further comment on the matter at this time.”