Disgraced former Scotland international David Goodwillie has been released from English seventh-tier side Radcliffe Football Club after they took the decision of selecting him without announcing he signed a contract.
Goodwillie and former Dundee United team-mate David Robertson were ruled by a civil court judge to have raped a woman after a night out in 2011 and ordered to pay her £100,000 in damages.
No criminal case was ever brought against Goodwillie or Robertson after the Crown Office deemed there to be insufficient evidence. He maintains his innocence, saying they had consensual sex.
But Goodwillie has since seen his professional career come to a halt, having been released by Clyde Football Club twice as well as Raith Rovers due to fan opposition to his signing.
Radcliffe did not announce that Goodwillie had joined the club, but the striker was named among the starting XI to take on Belper Town on Tuesday night, and scored a hat-trick in a 4-2 win.
Radcliffe issued a statement on Wednesday morning to to apologise for their “misstep” in signing him, and that the club regretted the decision to bring him on in the first place, having made no communication to supporters about his arrival.
The signing happened "very quickly" the club said, and they were unable to reveal details of the deal prior to Goodwillie playing for them on Tuesday.
"We can confirm that David Goodwillie has left the club," Radcliffe said in a statement.
"As a club we have always been about second chances and have been a part of many players and staff members rehabilitation along that journey, we've always given people a chance to improve their life and found support in this endeavour.
"When the club were presented with David Goodwillie that same logic was applied, but in this case it's clear that was a significant misstep and our due diligence should have been of a much higher standard.
"The focus was misplaced and as a growing Community Club we realise that our impacts are also more widely felt too. This was a bridge too far. We sincerely apologise to everyone connected with the club and the Community - this is a mistake that will never happen again."