Partick Thistle respond to McMillan 'hung out to dry' comments

Jordan McMillan playing for Partick Thistle in 2008
McMillan made 32 appearances for Thistle between 2013 and 2015

Partick Thistle have defended their sacking of Jordan McMillan following criticism from the player, who is now serving a ban for a failed drug test.

The 26-year-old defender has been banned from all sport for two years by UK Anti-Doping.

McMillan gave a newspaper interview saying the Jags had "hung him out to dry" when terminating his contract before the penalty was imposed.

But Thistle insist their response was "fair" and "professional".

McMillan was sacked in February following a club investigation, having last featured for the Glasgow club in December.

He was banned for two years in April, effective from December 2014, by the National Anti-Doping Panel, with the decision upheld after an appeal this month.

The former Rangers right-back claimed he had no knowledge of taking the banned substance [benzoylecgonine, a metabolite of cocaine] and that his drink was spiked accidentally by an acquaintance.

Thistle said in a statement: "We are extremely disappointed with Jordan's comments in relation to the way the club handled the situation around his failed drugs test.

Jordan McMillan scores for Partick Thistle against Hamilton Academical
McMillan scored against Hamilton in November, a few weeks before his final Thistle appearance

"As a club we believe we responded in a fair and thoroughly professional manner to the situation and stand by the action taken at the time.

"It is particularly disappointing to read that Jordan believes he has been 'hung out to dry' by the club especially given the fact that we did a great deal to protect both his reputation and career, including but not limited to: As per our duty of care as an employer, the club doctor immediately contacted Jordan to discuss any issues and offer any and all assistance required. The offer of help was not taken up by the player.

"Player confidentiality around this incident was maintained at all times. We were not able to discuss this matter until the decision was published by UKAD.

"The club protected the player in the first instance by citing, at Jordan's request, personal circumstances as the reason for his omission from match-day squads.

"It became obvious that there wouldn't be a prompt resolution to the matter and, given that club staff were being repeatedly questioned as to the reasons for Jordan's absence, we simply stated the player was suspended.

"We did not mention any failed drugs test or suspension from football. Jordan and his legal team were kept up to date of all club communications on the matter.

"Under a player's contract of employment with any SPFL club, failing a drug test is classed as gross misconduct and clubs have the option to instantly dismiss the player.

"The club refrained from this course of action in the first instance and suspended Jordan on full pay, which continued until his contract was terminated nine weeks later."

Partick Thistle's Firhill Stadium
Thistle insist the club does "everything in its power" to support players and staff

The Jags also say McMillan was offered a future at Firhill.

"The club offered Jordan a new contract, contingent on a length of ban, which would mean UKAD had taken into account the mitigating circumstances and reduced the mandatory two-year suspension," the statement added.

"This revised contract included a wage being paid to Jordan during the time he was ineligible to play for the club. Jordan rejected this contract.

"[The club] informed Jordan of UKAD's concerns over the non-specialised legal advice he was receiving, even though we were under no obligation to do so.

"We regretfully took the decision to terminate Jordan's contract on 27 February when it became apparent that any decision would be highly unlikely before the expiry of the player's contract in May 2015.

"We felt we could not justify keeping Jordan suspended on full pay for a total of more than five months, particularly when replacements had already been signed given Jordan's indefinite absence.

"Partick Thistle Football Club takes its duty of care as an employer seriously.

"In the event of any issues raised by any of our players or staff the club will do everything in its power to provide the help and assistance required, without judgement."