LEAGUE CUP SUCCESS FOR KENNY AND DEAN
Former Moyola Park boss Shiels managed the Ayrshire side to their first trophy since 1997. Northern Ireland international Dean Shiels also had a major part to play in the victory as he played the full ninety minutes.
However, the Kilmarnock dressing room was despondent after the final whistle as Jack Kelly, father of Kilmarnock midfielder Liam Kelly, collapsed at the final whistle and died just under an hour later at Victoria Infirmary in Glasgow.
Shiels ,speaking to the Mid Ulster Mail Sport, spoke of his mixture of emotions at Hampden Park on Sunday.
“It was a strange day. A real mixture of emotions. Jubilant one minute to remorseful the next. The passing away of Liam’s father was hard to come to terms with.”
In the opposition dugout was former Maghera Colts player Neil Lennon.
Lennon saw his hopes of a domestic treble diminish when Dieter Van Tourhout headed home with only minutes remaining.
Shiels stated that Kilmarnock had a belief that they could cause a major upset and he was full of praise for his side.
“Celtic have just gone 26 games unbeaten. 23 of those were victories. We had done our preparation before the game and we had our homework done on Celtic. Credit must go to every one of our players. Every single one of them gave their all. I thought Cammy Bell was superb in goal but we had five great chances to score, as did Celtic. It was a proper cup final that flowed from end to end.”
Expectation levels at Kilmarnock will now be raised after their victory but Shiels admitted that this week will be a big test for his players.
“There is a real feeling of both euphoria and sadness around the squad at the moment. The next game is going to be a tough one after all that has happened but we will prepare as best as we can for the Motherwell game at home this Saturday.”