Shiels wants long-term Killie stay

PA Sport

Kilmarnock manager Kenny Shiels is determined to build on a momentous season for the Scottish Communities League Cup winners by extending his stay at Rugby Park.

The Killie boss' deal ends this summer and, in the wake of the Hampden win over Celtic in March, chairman Michael Johnston said contract talks would begin in earnest. Shiels, who saw son Dean score a penalty in a 1-0 win at Hibernian on Sunday, wants to plan for next season by securing new deals for Manuel Pascali, James Fowler, Garry Hay - and himself.

Shiels told "I have to prioritise because I'm looking at Fowler, Hay and Pascali, because I want to get them tied up - and I want to get myself tied up. I want to, because I really love the place and I want to be here. Hopefully the chairman sees that and can say to me 'yes, I'll give you a 10-year contract'."

The win at Easter Road came despite Killie lining up without a recognised striker, and Shiels is seeking to recruit forward players this summer.

"Next season I'm going to push the chairman to get four strikers, because other clubs have got four strikers," he added.

Another who could have a key role to play next term is defender Ryan O'Leary, who featured for the first time since August following a cruciate knee ligament injury. The 24-year-old performed well to stifle Hibs' attack of Garry O'Connor and Leigh Griffiths.

O'Leary said: "I was just delighted to be back playing. It's been a long eight months. I tired towards the end, with a bit of cramp, but I feel good for it. A clean sheet in your comeback game is ideal. There's only four games to go, but I'd love to end the season on a high."

The victory saw Killie return above Aberdeen into seventh place ahead of next week's clash with Inverness.

Shiels said: "What an achievement that would be if we could finish seventh. I would be absolutely delighted.

"But we've a long way to go. We have three home games now. We're going to give everything we have to try to get there."

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