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By ESPN Staff

Scottish Cup runners-up to lose Euro place

The Scottish Football Association have decided to stop the Scottish Cup runners-up competing in Europe. Dunfermline will be the last club to seek entry to Europe that way after qualifying for the UEFA Cup by losing to champions Celtic in last season's Scottish Cup final. The Pars lost to Swedish second division outfit BK Hacken in the second qualifying round, the same stage Gretna were beaten 7-3 on aggregate by Derry City the previous season after losing to Hearts in the cup final. And after two First Division clubs were among Scotland's four representatives for two years running, the SFA have changed their policy in a bid to boost performances. Chief Executive Gordon Smith said: 'There is no doubt these UEFA Cup results have damaged our game. 'Going out of Europe so early seriously affects our co-efficient. 'So from next season, only Scottish Cup winners will be nominated for the UEFA Cup by the SFA. 'If the cup winners have already qualified for Europe through their league position, the extra European place will be awarded to the next-highest team in the SPL. 'It's a sad fact that no-one else apart from Celtic and Rangers are pulling their weight in Europe at the moment.'