KENNY SHIELS says will be forever grateful to Hibs for the support they gave to his son, Dean, after the loss of his eye.
Former Easter Road player Dean, pictured, damaged his eye in a freak accident as an eight-year-old and had no sight on one side when he signed for the Easter Road side from Arsenal in 2004. He went on to have his eye removed altogether in 2006 and Kilmarnock manager Shiels will never forget the help and backing the club gave to him and his family.
Shiels stressed: “Hibs are a fantastic club and they looked after my son in his time of need and I will forever be grateful for that. They sent him to the best eye clinic in the world and, to me, that was wonderful.
“They looked after him so well and I know for a fact that Dean will always have a place in his heart for Hibs too.”
Shiels added: “Dean was lucky that he had a manager like Tony Mowbray. I needed him to go to a club where the manager was like myself and who played the game in a way that suited his ability, a fluent, attractive game.
“He was the one person in Scotland that I felt was right for Dean. It was a fantastic time for him because he had the right person looking after him.”
Shiels senior suffered a serious ankle injury at the age of just 16 and admitted that he feared the worst when his son lost part of his sight. But he is proud at the way in which Dean – currently plying his trade with Rangers – battled to carve out a career as a professional footballer.
He added: “It was my dream that Dean would be a professional. When he actually went ahead and did it, despite his handicap, there was a great sense of achievement.”