Composed Killie deserve Cup success
Kilmarnock's Scottish Communities League Cup final win against Celtic was well deserved and a great shot in the arm for the Scottish game.
The honours do not come round often for fans of clubs other than Celtic and Rangers and they have to be joyously treasured when they do.
It gives hope and inspiration in equal measure to all other clubs and their fans, that glory is not beyond their reach.
Killie beat Celtic to win the League Cup for the first time in their history. Pic: SNS.
Most Celtic fans I've spoken to have accepted their defeat with good grace and have been fulsome in their praise of Kenny Shiels' team.
In fact, one of the most uplifting things about the result has been the goodwill and dignity with which Celtic fans have reacted to Kilmarnock's win, despite it ending their hopes of a treble.
That mature approach augurs well for the future of our footballing landscape which could be changing dramatically with the situation Rangers are in.
The tragic circumstances surrounding the match at the end of the game will never be forgotten, but in terms of the game as a football occasion there was a great deal to celebrate.
The Kilmarnock fans gave terrific backing to their team in a game which may well mark a seminal moment for their progress.
Manager Shiels has applied a consistent message to his philosophy of how he wants his team to play.
On Sunday he and his team were true to their principles and were justly rewarded.
Cammy Bell was outstanding in the Kilmarnock goal and made half a dozen fine saves to thwart Celtic and the penalty claim at the end for the challenge on Stokes, could as easily have been given as not.
Kilmarnock though also created chances and their goal near the end was a well-executed counter-attack culminating in a fine cross, perfectly finished by the head of substitute and birthday boy Dieter van Tornhout.
Their play throughout was thoughtful and composed and they showed a diligence and application which was a credit to them and their manager.
Killie went into the game with patchy league form and many expected Celtic to take the first step towards a much talked about treble.
Two wins, three defeats and five draws hardly seemed inspiring, yet during the season they have beaten Rangers 1-0 twice, drawn 3-3 with Celtic and lost narrowly to them 2-1.
They seemed to have the measure of how to play the big two. So it proved at Hampden.
While some will say Celtic did not play as well as they can, Kilmarnock had to beat what was put in front of them.
They had to re adjust to the early loss of Danny Buijs in the 20th minute and it was Lee Johnson who replaced him, who provided the perfect cross for the winning goal.
It was an all-round team effort and there were some outstanding performances.
Chief among them for me though was the magnificent contribution of keeper Bell.
His athleticism and quick reflexes, combined with an intelligent command of his goal area, was the feature of the day for me.
A goalkeeper at the peak of his powers, he enabled Killie to draw inspiration and confidence.
Celtic were never in total command of the game and it was certainly never one way traffic.
Like a human whirlwind in the technical area manager Shiels constantly cajoled and encouraged his team to greater heights.
Shiels seems like a throwback to different times. His approach seems to be 'the game for the game's sake'.
He was generous in his praise of Celtic before and after the match and while many think he was playing mind games, I prefer to think of his approach as one of complete honesty and frankness.
Celtic can now concentrate on enjoying their forthcoming title success, while Kilmarnock can reflect on their day in the sun and perhaps even brighter days ahead.