Kilmarnock V Hearts at Rugby Park : Match Preview

24 December 2012 05:01
Kilmarnock V Hearts - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Problems bring "siege mentality" - Shiels

Kilmarnock manager Kenny Shiels has sympathy for Hearts boss John McGlynn as he continues to deal with off-field issues.

But Shiels believes the Edinburgh club's problems have also helped to galvanise the Jambos this season.

Hearts were last week handed an indefinite transfer embargo by the Scottish Premier League for failure to pay bonuses and appearance payments.

The ban means they will be unable to sign new players in the January transfer window if their bid to overturn the ruling fails.

Recent financial issues at Tynecastle have been well-documented, while McGlynn attempts to keep the focus on football and secure results on the park.

Speaking ahead of the Clydesdale Bank Premier League Boxing Day clash between the two clubs, Shiels said: "You can look at it sympathetically.

"But you can also look at it in a way in which he's getting a little bit of a siege mentality there to try to help them.

"That happens in football. Hearts are a big club and we prepare for that in the way in which we show them the utmost respect.

"They're giving young players a chance and it's tremendous what they're doing. John McGlynn is a super guy and he's doing a magnificent job."

Meanwhile, Shiels has hailed his Kilmarnock side as Scottish football's biggest achievers of 2012.

He said: "What we have achieved in 2012 has far surpassed what any other club in Scotland has achieved under the circumstances - way, way ahead of any other club.

"I think that's quite evident if you look at what we've done.

"We've beaten Rangers twice, we've beaten Celtic twice and we've beaten Aberdeen away, Hearts away, Hibernian away, all in a calendar year.

"What a magnificent effort from our players who have come from little clubs. It's immense what Kilmarnock have achieved, absolutely immense.

"We took a 55-year-old record and put it to bed (defeating Celtic in Glasgow in the league cup final), we took a 57-year-old record and put it to bed (winning at Celtic Park).

"These players are magnificent. What the players, and my coach Jimmy Nicholl, have achieved has been nothing short of unbelievable."

Manager John McGlynn hopes his Hearts side can claim revenge at Rugby Park after suffering a 3-1 loss to Kilmarnock earlier in the season.

Cillian Sheridan, signed by Killie boss Kenny Shiels in the summer after the Irishman left St Johnstone, struck a hat-trick at Tynecastle in September as the visitors triumphed.

Now McGlynn hopes his side, which beat Dundee United 2-1 on Sunday courtesy of a Ryan Stevenson double, can defeat Killie on their own patch on Wednesday.

"Kilmarnock, we're maybe due them one," McGlynn said.

"They beat us here 3-1 and it was a sore day for us that day.

"They've gone along very nicely. Kenny's done very well in the signings he's made and bringing in players.

"We would anticipate a difficult game, but if we defend very well I think we'll be able to cause Kilmarnock problems as well."

Hearts moved into the top six with victory over United and could consolidate their position with a win in Ayrshire.

Midfielder Darren Barr could be the man tasked with stopping Sheridan.

McGlynn added: "He (Sheridan) is a top striker, it was a good bit of business for Kenny to get him.

"Darren Barr did an excellent job on Rudi Skacel. If he can do a similar job on Sheridan. but (Paul) Heffernan's a decent striker as well.

"They've got two good strikers there. I think Kenny's got a really, really good squad."


Source: PA