Shiels hails Harkins

PA Sport
Gary Harkins
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Gary Harkins

Kilmarnock boss Kenny Shiels joked that the club's famous and award-winning 'Killie pies' helped Gary Harkins to recover from injury in time for Tuesday's 2-1 William Hill Scottish Cup fourth-round replay win over Dundee at Rugby Park.

The former Dens Park striker sustained a suspected broken ankle at training just before the New Year and it was originally thought he would be out for six weeks. The injury turned out to be ligament damage but Harkins still had to work hard to be in Shiels' line-up.

And he vindicated his selection by setting up Paul Heffernan and Dean Shiels for Killie's two first-half goals which proved enough to set up a trip to Hibernian in the next round, and the Northern Irishman admitted: "We didn't think he would make it."

He added: "We were surprised that he has come back so quick but he is a quick healer - but maybe it was the Killie pies, I don't know.

"We waited to see for a response [on Monday] but there was no pain in the ankle. The physiotherapy department have been working really hard on that and it was priority to get him right and we achieved that."

Shiels all but ruled out signing former Hibs striker Derek Riordan, who played a bounce game for Killie last week, adding: "It is unlikely but if he does go to a Scottish club it will be Killie."

Dundee's goal came in the 63rd minute when Killie midfielder Liam Kelly failed to prevent Dundee counterpart Gavin Rae reaching Gary Irvine's cross, but the hosts saw the game out without too much threat to their goal.

The visitors claimed Manual Pascali fouled Rae before Killie's second goal but manager Barry Smith did not make too much of the incident.

He said: "I am always going to claim for a foul there but the referee had made his decision so we get on with it. We are disappointed at getting beat but over the two ties the boys should be happy with their performances.

"We played well in both games and created chances against a good SPL side - don't forget that they are sixth in the table. The players are disappointed that they didn't get something out of the game."

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