KILMARNOCK CUP SUCCESS SOURED

Post-match reaction to Kilmarnock's 1-0 victory over Celtic.

Last Updated: 19/03/12 at 06:25 Post Comment

Kenny Shiels: Kilmarnock manager

Kenny Shiels: Kilmarnock manager

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Kenny Shiels revealed the Kilmarnock dressing room was left "despondent" despite beating Celtic 1-0 in the Scottish Communities League Cup final at Hampden, as midfielder Liam Kelly's father Jack died after collapsing at the end of the game.

For several minutes after the final whistle, as the Killie fans and players celebrated substitute Dietar Van Tornhout's winning header which takes the trophy to Rugby Park for the first time, paramedics treated Kelly senior right beside the Kilmarnock dugout.

Kelly did not join in the celebrations and went up the tunnel.

Afterwards, the sombre Kilmarnock boss Shiels, speaking before Mr Kelly's death had been confirmed, said: "I am all over the place, I really am.

"It happened right beside this dugout and I am only doing this press conference out of respect to you (the media) so I hope you appreciate that.

"I have went from so high an emotion to so low an emotion.

"We are not sure of the outcome but he is very seriously ill and that's a tough emotion after going up to one of the best moments of our lives.

"The dressing room is very despondent and I don't know why the man above sends down these messages to us.

"We are thinking more about Liam than our triumphalism."

Shiels could hardly bring himself to speak about what should have been one of the greatest days in the club's history.

He said: "We had a sign up all week: 'Believe to achieve', and that's what we did.

"We worked on the tactical side of the game, in how we could nullify certain areas of their team but at the same time dominate the ball.

"For periods of the game we achieved that domination and periods of the game where we gave the ball away cheaply but we were playing the best team in the country.

"But I don't want to feel good about myself, because we are in a very difficult situation.

"I am pleased for people like James Fowler and Garry Hay, players who have played their whole career and not won a single trophy."

Kilmarnock goalkeeper Cammy Bell admitted his cup final heroics meant nothing after hearing the news about Kelly's father.

"We have had some sad news coming in, so that has made everything very difficult for us as a team," the 25-year-old said.

"I'm very close to Liam so it just puts things into perspective for me.

"If I could take away my performance I would, if Liam's dad was all right.

"I would rather take a defeat than someone's dad dying. You think about your own dad when that situation comes around.

"I still am quite emotional and we're just praying his dad gets better."

Kelly was told before Kilmarnock lifted the trophy but the rest of his team-mates had collected their medals before discovering the news.

"It was after getting the cup when I found out," Bell said. "We were on the pitch and the kit man told me. The rest of the boys didn't realise.

"I went straight to Kells and gave him a hug, but there is not much you can say to him.

"We all wish him the best and we're praying his dad gets better soon."Belgian striker Van Tornhout turned 27 on Sunday and he was keen to give credit to the whole squad.

"It's nice, but it's not only me today," he said on BBC Sport Scotland. "We did it with the whole squad. To score the winner in the final of the cup is a personal achievement, but this is for the group and the fans.

"The feeling is incredible for me today. It's my birthday as well so I don't think I can give myself a better birthday present than this one."

Dean Shiels claimed the team always believed they could spring an upset.

"We believed we could win," he said. "Our two games in the league against Celtic, we took great belief from those two games. We can beat anyone on our day and we showed that today."

Midfielder Gary Harkins added: "It's different class, everybody's signing. It's just a great day for everybody.

"We believed from the start, we believed we were good enough, and the boys defended brilliantly."

Angry Celtic boss Neil Lennon claimed referee Willie Collum had cost his club the chance of a possible treble after a "criminal decision" not to award the Hoops a last-minute penalty.

As Celtic chased the equaliser, striker Anthony Stokes went to ground after a challenge by Killie defender Michael Nelson and in instead of celebrating a spot-kick, he was horrified to be booked for simulation.

Celtic could wrap up the Clydesdale Bank Premier League title at Ibrox next week and are in the semi-finals of the William Hill Scottish Cup, but Lennon was adamant that Collum had prevented his side winning all three major trophies this season.

"It is a criminal decision and it has cost us the treble," he said.

"It's a stonewall penalty. It's a shocking decision, absolutely shocking.

"He's clean through, he's holding the boy off, the player lunges at him and takes his leg away and doesn't get anywhere near the ball.

"So it's a penalty and a red card, in the final minute of the game where we have banged away at the door.

"And to rub salt in the wounds he books Anthony for diving which is awful refereeing.

"There's no way Anthony Stokes would go down clean through on goal.

"Nelson's reaction; he knows he has given a penalty away and he is hugely relieved. I couldn't believe the decision myself.

"I shook Willie's hand at the end of the game because I wanted to act in a dignified manner and I thought overall he had a decent game but that is a big call in a cup final and for me he's got it horribly wrong.

"I might speak to John Fleming (Scottish Football Association's head of referee development) and get his opinion. They might see it differently."

Lennon admitted a series of missed chances combined with a man-of-the-match display by Killie keeper Cameron Bell had also thwarted his side's chances of picking up the first trophy of the season.

"We were wasteful in front of goal and in that respect we have only ourselves to blame," said the former Celtic skipper.

"Disappointment is an understatement but if you don't take your chances in any game you always leave liable to a team nicking a goal and that is exactly what happened today.

"We dominated the game and missed loads of simple chances.

"I am not saying we didn't play well because we did and from what I hear their goalkeeper got man of the match and I think that is indicative of how we played.

"Gary Hooper missed a sitter. You would have put your house on him and to be fair to Cammy Bell, he has made a wonder save from Stokes' header after good play from Scott Brown, and then he has tipped one over the bar from Brown.

"We totally dominated the second half, Stokesy had a great chance when cut inside but hit at straight at the goalkeeper, who then made a double save from Samaras and Commons.

"Some days your name is not on the trophy, that is football.

"If you look at the game, Kilmarnock are very fortunate to have won the cup but congratulations to them."

Stokes felt he deserved an injury-time penalty.

"I got taken down in the box and it should have been a penno," he said.

"He has caught me on the ankle. As far as I'm concerned it was a penno."

Stokes added: "Their keeper played very well but I thought we dominated the game.

"It was a counter-attack and they scored. We're disappointed to say the least.

"I thought the majority of the second half up until they scored, we were on top.

"They had a little spell for a couple of minutes at the start of the second half but on the whole I thought we dominated the game.

"But goals change games. It's an old cliche, but we just didn't put the ball in the back of the net."

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