Kenny Shiels seeks patience from Kilmarnock fans after player exits
Kilmarnock manager Kenny Shiels expects some understanding from fans ahead of the new SPL season after a summer of transition and uncertainty.
As well as the well-documented financial fears following the demise of Rangers, Shiels lost son Dean to the Ibrox club ahead of today’s visit of Dundee, while Paul Heffernan and Garry Hay both face several months on the sidelines with injury. The Kilmarnock manager has brought in left-back Jeroen Tesselaar from St Mirren and forward Rory Boulding from Livingston but, like every SPL manager, has seen many more players depart.
The likes of Ben Gordon, David Silva and Dieter van Tornhout have gone and Shiels thinks it would be unrealistic to anticipate a repeat of last season, when Kilmarnock finished seventh and won the Scottish Communities League Cup.
“We have lost eight quality players, we have lost goals, we have lost a lot of assets in the playing squad,” he said. “I’m sure the expectations of the fans will be realistic. We have got to look at the reality and have a clear understanding of where we are. There is no way supporters’ expectations are going to be greater.
“They understand the predicament we are in. It’s in debt and we have to manage our finances accordingly. The expectation of the club is to stay in the SPL and build on our youth policy so that we will progress gradually over the next few years.”
Mark Stewart, meanwhile, is in line for his competitive Dundee debut this afternoon after signing for the SPL newcomers on Thursday.
Stewart regularly found the net against Dundee while at Falkirk and Hamilton and now the 24-year-old wants to make sure he can maintain the goalscoring habit while playing for the Dark Blues.
Stewart, who was released by Bradford, told the club’s official website: “I got a phone call a couple of weeks ago asking me to come up for a couple of weeks and I had an offer made to me yesterday and I agreed it straight away.
“I’m delighted to be here – it’s a big opportunity for me especially after having maybe not the best season last year.
“I’ve got something like four goals in six games playing against Dundee, but now I want to score goals for them.”
Stewart has SPL experience with Falkirk and netted 17 goals for the Bairns in the First Division. I’ve now been give this opportunity by the gaffer (Barry Smith) to come to a club of the size of Dundee and look forward to the new season in the SPL.
“It’s a big season, not just for me but for the whole club.”
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