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Missing Naismith Helps Killie
Kenny Shiels likes to see entertainers on the pitch but can live without seeing Steven Naimith tomorrow
Kenny Shiels accepts Steven Naismith's absence from the opposition when his Kilmarnock side meet Rangers tomorrow is a boost for his team - but a loss to the SPL. Naismith accepted a two-game ban following an incident at East End Park on Saturday, becoming the first recipient of a retrospective punishment under the SFA's new fast-track disciplinary system. TV cameras showed Dunfermline full-back Austin McCann wrestling with Naismith before the latter's arm swung back and felled McCann. Naismith's illegal move was missed by the officials in charge of the game and he went on to score two second-half goals to take his tally for the season to nine for club and country. Naismith decided to accept the punishment immediately. Shiels said: "I think he is a great player for the league, a fantastic entertaining player, scores fantastic goals. He will be a big loss to the league if he's not playing. We would be the benefactors of that, I would admit that. It would be better for us if he's not playing, anyone in my position would say that. But Rangers supporters have been entertained by him and it's important those types of players are in the league." Killie lost out to St Mirren on Saturday, but Shiels is adamant there were mitigating factors for the loss that were outside their control. Striker Paul Heffernan had a goal disallowed for offside when the game was goalless and Zdenek Kroca, who twice hit the bar with headers, was harshly penalised for handball to allow Paul McGowan to score his second goal for Danny Lennon's team before the break. Mohamadou Sissoko then felt he was pushed by Nigel Hasselbaink before the Dutchman made it 3-0. Shiels said: "The team did enough to win the match on Saturday. I don't want to take anything away from St Mirren because that would be unfair on them. They weren't actually as good as I thought they had been and I'm sure Danny thinks that as well, because we got a lot of success in terms of territorial advantage and how we passed the ball. They were chasing the ball, which was good. We got a good goal, and we have since found out there were two players playing Heffernan onside, not even one, so it wasn't even marginal. That disappoints me. That would have put us in front and there was an illegitimate goal just before half-time, which killed our way of thinking. They were in the dressing room, angry and we have to try to get composure back in our minds. I was disappointed we couldn't get the game back again and then the third goal was a push on our centre-back, so there was an accumulation of errors. I'm not complaining about it, that happens."
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