Shiels happy to court lady luck

PA Sport
Kenny Shiels
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Kenny Shiels

Kilmarnock manager Kenny Shiels claims his side's progression to the Scottish Communities League Cup semi-finals is just reward for their high-risk strategy.

Killie were not at their inventive best when beating 10-man East Fife 2-0 at Rugby Park in the quarter-finals, relying on a goalkeeping misjudgement to make the breakthrough as Mohamadou Sissoko converted after Mark Ridgers fumbled a 73rd-minute corner. Kilmarnock also faced 10-man opposition in their only other tie in the tournament so far, a 5-0 victory over Queen of the South.

But Shiels felt Killie deserved more for their overall play in recent Clydesdale Bank Premier League draws against Celtic and Motherwell, and he argued that their commitment to an expansive passing game merited rewards. The Northern Irishman said: "The draw has favoured us to be fair, no disrespect to teams like Queen of the South and East Fife."

He added: "But I think, if you play a high-risk game, then fortune favours the brave. I think the club and the playing staff deserve that. We play a very open game and let crosses come in against us.

"I know it's risky but it's how I want my team to play. I want them to play with flair and imagination. We live dangerously at times but I'm delighted we have got some rewards and the chairman and the club are the beneficiaries of that."

Ayr United's shock win at St Mirren Park has raised the possibility of a derby semi-final in the last weekend of January. A Hampden clash between Killie and Ayr would represent the biggest match between the two rivals and Shiels would welcome the interest such a tie would present.

"I'm delighted for Brian Reid, he comes to bounce games and works ever so hard," Shiels said. "He has done remarkably well for Ayr United.

"If that was to be the draw it would certainly captivate the whole of Ayrshire. There is so much rivalry between the two teams and it would really stimulate something.

"The town of Kilmarnock needs something now. We are one point off the top six, in the semi-final of the League Cup, we have just rebuilt the team."

A date for the draw has still to be decided with the Scottish Football League in talks with the Scottish Government over the schedule, but it will not take place on Thursday.

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