Shiels seeks cup boost

PA Sport
Kenny Shiels

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Kenny Shiels

Kilmarnock manager Kenny Shiels is looking for some cup final magic to rub off as his side return to league duty against Motherwell, but admits they will have their work cut out after being hit by selection problems.

Killie have seven players out for the Clydesdale Bank Premier League clash at Rugby Park, where they are expected to parade the Scottish Communities League Cup. The Ayrshire side's 1-0 win over Celtic was marred by the death of Jack Kelly, father of midfielder Liam, after he collapsed in the Hampden stand amid the celebrations.

Shiels wants to focus on the feelgood factor surrounding the club's first major trophy for 15 years, and he said: "The trophy brings positivity to the club and we're looking forward to the game."

He added: "The next game is a new chapter. It's difficult to get the players back to normality but we are endeavouring to do that. We have a lot of injuries and suspensions for Saturday so that's going to take its toll and obviously Liam will not be playing."

Mohamadou Sissoko and Dean Shiels are suspended while Danny Buijs and David Silva join long-term absentees Manuel Pascali and Ryan O'Leary in the treatment room.

"We have three centre-halfs amongst the seven which is going to take its toll on a club like us," Shiels said.

Motherwell will move into second place if they take something from the game and victory for the Lanarkshire side will delay Celtic's title party for at least another week.

More important for Motherwell manager Stuart McCall is maintaining their lead over the teams below them - currently 11 points - in order to seal a likely place in the Champions League qualifiers with Rangers set to miss out on a European licence.

Shiels said: "They have worked themselves into a great position and that's all credit to the players and management of the club.

"It's great to see a non-city club like Motherwell doing so well. I would love to see a fresh team in the Champions League for Scottish football. It gives the rest of us some hope."

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