SCOTT Ruscoe will look to maintain the TNS monopoly of Welsh football this season.

The Saints stalwart stepped up from coach to the top job following Craig Harrison’s departure to Vanarama Conference side Hartlepool United and assistant Carl Darlington’s return to Wrexham at the end of last season.

Ruscoe faced a baptism of fire in the UEFA Champions League as the Saints crashed out to Croatian champions Rijeka in their heaviest aggregate defeat in two decades.

However the result did not sway Saints chairman Mike Harris in looking to the Park Hall boot room to give Ruscoe his crack at the top job.

As the league’s only professional club the Saints start every season as favourites and having won last season’s title by more than 20 points, Ruscoe accepted nothing but a return to the Champions League would be accepted as success.

Ruscoe spoke of his pride at his appointment having been at the club for two decades.

“It’s what I’ve wanted to do all my career and I’ve had some excellent mentors along the way in Ken McKenna, Andy Cale, Carl Darlington and, of course, Craig Harrison.

“They’ve all played a part in my football development and I know I can speak to any one of those for advice. I feel I’m in a privileged position.”

“The minimum requirement for this football club is the league title,” said Ruscoe. “Obviously there’s the Welsh Cup too and our domestic league cup.

“We’re going to take the Irn-Bru Cup very seriously. We did well in it last year and though it’ll be harder this year, we’ll be coming in earlier and there are more teams but we see no reason why we can’t we go one better than the semi-finals of last year.

“The league is a priority. Not winning it would be a disaster because the finances we receive from getting into the Champions League allows the club to run smoothly.

“We’re under no illusions about what is expected of us.”

Ruscoe is hoping to make additions to his squad before the end of the August transfer window.

“We’ve been looking at a few players. Any players we think are available and might improve or add to our squad we’ll be considering.”