KILMARNOCK manager Kenny Shiels said that he and Hibernian counterpart Pat Fenlon had been in complete agreement that yesterday’s match between the teams should be abandoned.
Both teams had been back in the dressing-rooms for some 15 minutes by the time a seriously ill spectator was taken out of the ground by ambulance before later dying.
It is the third time in a little over a year that a similar situation has occurred at a Kilmarnock game. The father of former Kilmarnock player, Liam Kelly, died during the League Cup final in March 2012, while there was also a fatality a month later at a game between the Ayrshire club and Inverness Caledonian Thistle.
“We need to show respect to the relevant families,” Shiels said. “We’ve been through this three times now in just over a year. An Inverness fan lost their life and then Liam Kelly’s father.
“We don’t know the outcome of this, but we have to be respectful. Football isn’t as important as human life. We’ve shown our respect, both clubs, and hopefully everything turns out okay. I wasn’t sure what was happening, but we heard the supporters shouting ‘kick the ball out, kick the ball out’. Our medical team went across, and the doctor, to find out what it was.
“The fourth official came and told me that the game had to be stopped. We could see the treatment going on and it seems to be pretty serious. We deliberated a while to see if they could bring him round and then continue the game, but it was quite serious, so Pat Fenlon and I agreed the game should be abandoned. We were asked for our opinions and views on it and the match officials and match delegate were very good. It was purely out of respect for the family because we knew it was a very serious heart attack – that’s what we were told. I can’t say anything from a medical perspective – it’s not my place to do that.”
It has yet to be confirmed when the game will be replayed, but next midweek appears probable. “There’s no decision on when the game will played, but Pat and I spoke briefly about it and suggested Wednesday week – 15 May – and that looks to be the most likely date,” Shiels added.
Kilmarnock chairman Michael Johnson said that the spectator was a club season-ticket holder of long standing, but declined to add any other personal information.