RENOWNED author and former Raith Rovers director Val McDermid has renounced her lifelong support for the club after it signed David Goodwillie.

The forward was ruled to be a rapist in a civil court case in 2016. No criminal proceedings were instructed and Goodwillie has never acknowledged his guilt.

The signing was condemned by Nicola Sturgeon, Rape Crisis Scotland and prompted the team's women's captain and coach to quit.

The club's supporter liaison officer, employability officer and two directors have also resigned in protest. And McDermid and another major sponsor have withdrawn funding.

McDermid, one of the Kirkcaldy club’s most high-profile backers and its shirt sponsor, raised objections when the club was linked to a move for the player earlier in the January transfer window.

She pointed to two criminal convictions for assault in 2008 and 2012, urging her team not to bid for the striker.

READ MORE: Who is David Goodwillie – Raith Rovers' 'rapist' new signing

But on Monday night as the transfer deadline approach, Rovers announced they had signed Goodwillie on a permanent deal from Clyde until 2024.

McDermid branded it “a terrible day for Raith Rovers”.

She announced on social media: “I have this morning ended my lifelong support of Raith Rovers over their signing of the rapist David Goodwillie. I have cancelled next season’s shirt sponsorship over this disgusting and despicable move.

"This shatters any claim to be a community or family club.”

The author continued: “Goodwillie has never expressed a shred of remorse for the rape he committed. His presence at Starks Park is a stain on the club. I’ll be tearing up my season ticket too.

"This is a heartbreaker for me and many other fans, I know.”

She added: “The thought of the rapist David Goodwillie running out on the pitch at Starks Park in a Raith Rovers shirt with my name on it makes me feel physically sick.”

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon speaks out after Raith Rovers sign 'rapist' striker

The away end at the club’s Stark’s Park is named the McDermid Stand after the novelist sponsored it, naming it after her father who worked for the club.

The captain of the club’s women’s team, Tyler Rattray, announced she was quitting playing for the team on Tuesday.

In a tweet, she said: “After 10 long years playing for Raith, it’s gutting I have given up now because they have signed someone like this and I want nothing to do with it!

“It was good being captain of Raith while it lasted.”

The First Minister praised McDermid and Rattray for taking a "principled" stand, while Tag Games chief Paul Farley announced the firm would be withdrawing sponsorship.

Supporter liaison officer Margie Robertson has also resigned, as has director Andrew Mill and fellow director Bill Clark who were both elected to the Raith Rovers board in 2018.

Robertson tweeted: "My values and that of the club are now on a divergent path. I would like to thank everyone who has encouraged me and helped me through out my tenure. I have enjoyed meeting so many fans."

Mill announced: “Most Raith fans will now be aware of the recent events that have taken place over the last day or two which resulted in us signing David Goodwillie from Clyde FC. 

“As a consequence, I feel I am unable to continue as a director of Raith Rovers FC and this morning I submitted my resignation."

Rape Crisis Scotland commented: “We are surprised and deeply disappointed that Raith Rovers FC are happy to send such a clear message of disregard to survivors of rape and sexual violence in signing David Goodwillie.

"Fundamentally – though it seems Raith FC do not agree – women’s lives are more important than men’s talent or careers. Footballers are role models – particularly for young people – and it’s not okay to have someone in this position who has been found by a senior judge to be a rapist.

"We wonder whether those who took this decision thought for a second about how it may look or feel to survivors to have to watch someone judged to have committed rape be celebrated and applauded.

"This was a bad decision that sends entirely the wrong message, and it should be withdrawn.”

Announcing Goodwillie’s arrival, Raith Rovers said it was “crucial” but did not reference any court rulings. 

Manager John McGlynn said: “I have worked with David before and he has a proven track record as a goalscorer throughout his career at every level. We know from matches against Clyde in League 1 that he always carried a goal threat.

“Signing him, I believe, is crucial to the club’s promotion push in our quest to reach the SPFL Premiership – it is a great signing for Raith Rovers as a club, as David is the top goal scorer in Scotland.

“Every striker at the club will benefit greatly from his experience in matches and training.”

In a statement released following a widespread backlash, the club stated: "The management team is familiar with David’s career and background and – in particular – his footballing ability. That is our foremost consideration, and we believe that he will strengthen the Raith Rovers playing squad."

While Raith Rovers acknowledged the signing had "divided opinion amongst our loyal fans and commercial stakeholders", they insisted they aim to "rebuild that trust". They did not explain how they would do this.