Shiels admits substitution was Kilmarnock’s undoing

Kenny Shiels shouldered full responsibility for Kilmarnock’s loss at Inverness, admitting he was wrong to take off Ben Hutchinson in the second half.

The former Celtic forward, who had struck the post earlier in the match, was replaced by Jorge Galan in the 64th minute with the game poised at 1-1 after Dean Shiels’ 34th-minute effort had cancelled Gregory Tade’s 25th-minute opener for Inverness.

Galan, however, failed to make an impact as Caley Thistle went on to win this encounter courtesy of a Graeme Shinnie goal two minutes from time.

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The defeat was Kilmarnock’s first in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League this season, and manager Shiels maintains it was partly his fault their unbeaten record ended.

He said: “I took Ben off because I felt that Jorge Galan would give us more up front, but that never happened.

“He just didn’t make the impact I hoped he would, so I’ll have to take the blame for that one. I made a mistake by substituting Ben and that’s very disappointing, but we’ll speak about it and try to learn from it.

“It was a game that ebbed and flowed, but I think the final result was just about a fair reflection of the game. We can have no complaints.”

For Caley Thistle manager Terry Butcher and his players, the relief was tangible as they claimed their first SPL success in six games.

Having watched his team suffer a 1-0 defeat to First Division Ayr in the second round of the Scottish Communities League Cup three days earlier, Butcher praised his injury-ravaged side for their reaction against Kilmarnock.

He said: “By the end of the game, our boys were out on their feet.

“It was a hard match against Ayr and there’s no doubt the result meant our confidence going into the Kilmarnock match took a knock.”

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Butcher added: “We didn’t get back until 2:30 on the Thursday morning, but we had a good chat with the players later that day and also on Friday.

“We started the match really well and got the goal, but when Kilmarnock scored it was a bit of a kick in the teeth.

“However, we picked it up again in the second half and it was nice for once to score a late winner rather than be on the receiving end like we were against Hibs and Dunfermline earlier this season.”