Kenny Shiels claimed he and his Kilmarnock players got a monkey off their back with their historic win over Celtic at Parkhead - and not just because it was their first victory in the east end of Glasgow for 57 years.
Cillian Sheridan scored two minutes before the break and midfielder Liam Kelly slammed in the second goal in a 2-0 win from the spot. Shiels reflected back to March when Kilmarnock's Scottish Communities League Cup final celebrations following their win over Celtic at Hampden were cut short following the sudden death of midfielder Kelly's father, Jack.
Shiels said: "I am happy for the supporters. The boys created history today. Two generations of supporters haven't experienced a victory here for Kilmarnock and it makes me so proud to hopefully give them some satisfaction and help them to enjoy their weekend. But the person I am happy most for is Liam Kelly."
The Killie boss added: "He didn't get a chance to truly celebrate beating the best team in Scotland in the cup final in March. It was silent in our dressing room in March but today there was a freedom of celebration, we have beaten the best team in Scotland and there is no better feeling.
"We have the chance to celebrate now without feeling guilty about it. That is a monkey off my back and I am sure it is for the players. I said that to them in the dressing room - 'Please enjoy yourselves tonight'. For Liam and his family, we are very happy."
Neil Lennon's Celtic had put in a disciplined, battling performance against Barcelona in the Nou Camp in midweek, only to lose the Champions League clash 2-1 to a goal in the final seconds of injury-time.
However, against Killie, from a starting XI which showed five changes from Tuesday night, the performance was at the other end of the scale and a "confused" Lennon blamed himself.
Lennon said: "I didn't envisage a performance as flat as that, particularly with freshening the team up. But it was my fault, I picked the team. I am not blaming the players for that. I thought we had a strong team, it looked good on paper but there was no fluidity. There was a malaise about the team that I did not like at all.
"It was too passive, there was no intensity to our play and we got what we deserved without Kilmarnock having to do that much. The first goal was a shambles and the second goal was just poor defending.
"It is a dose of reality, we came down to earth with a bump."
- Sports & Recreation
- Kenny Shiels