Shiels insists focus on Kilmarnock not Griffiths

KILMARNOCK manager Kenny Shiels has urged his players to focus on their own strengths, rather than Hibernian star man Leigh Griffiths, when the two sides meet in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League this afternoon.

Griffiths has been a hugely influential player for the Edinburgh club this season and his efforts have earned him nominations for both player and young player of the year at tonight’s PFA Scotland awards.

Killie know first hand just how dangerous the striker can be after he bagged a hat-trick the last time the sides met when Hibs came out on top in a William Hill Scottish Cup tie. Shiels said: “He’s done well against us and he has done well against everybody. He is certainly right up there for player of the year. But we have to focus on how we play and that’s the most important thing.”

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The Rugby Park side are boosted by the return of Rory McKenzie after he recovered from a sickness bug, but Shiels has had a number of injury problems to contend with in the latter part of the campaign.

However, he refused to make excuses. The Northern Irishman added: “Most clubs have four or five missing and we just have to try to get a performance and get a result on Sunday.”

Shiels has already recruited Inverness goalkeeper Antonio Reguero on a pre-contract agreement ahead of next season and is keen to bolster his squad further for the new campaign.

He said: “I’m looking at a little bit more experience in certain areas of the team, which will help us. That’s where I’m at just now.”

Irn-Bru First Division clubs last night moved to break the deadlock surrounding reconstruction of Scottish football by proposing the formation of an SPL2.

Ten clubs sent their proposal to the Scottish Premier League following a meeting at Hamilton’s New Douglas Park.

There had previously been talk of the implementation of play-offs after the 12-12-18 proposal failed to receive the necessary backing.

Asked for his own thoughts on change in Scottish football in general, Shiels said: “I’m just the manager of a football team and whatever is put in front of me I’ve got to adapt to that.

“If that’s play-offs, if it’s 14-14-14 or if it’s 12-12-18, then all I can do is adapt to the needs of the club and try to accommodate it.”