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Composed Killie deserve Cup success

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Jim Spence | 17:11 UK time, Monday, 19 March 2012

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.

Kilmarnock players celebrate winning the Scottish Communities League Cup

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.


  • Comment number 1.

    "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."

    Really? Id love to know where you found those celtic fans. Was it in dundee where most support celtic part time until celtic are doing not so well then revert back to being dundee utd or dundee fans again? Really i am chomping at the bit to know.
    Anyway great day for killie fans you could see how much it meant to the fans and the players winning that cup. This is what id like to see more of in scottish football rather than the old firm winning as it means not a jot to them other than bragging rights between each other.

  • Comment number 2.

    Great game to watch, not a game of dull midfield play like we usually see but a game that was enjoyable to watch from start to end. Both teams where fantastic, full of energy and the two are entitled to the praise there getting.
    If Cammy Bell provides a few more games with that kind of skill then it won't be long before he's replacing McGregor between the posts for Scotland, and if Celtic can't make Forsters deal permanent then he'll be moving on to big things.

    Terrible about Liam's Dad though, such a shame, hope it doesn't affect the lad's season too much, got a great career ahead of him.

  • Comment number 3.

    What can I say,

    What a Day,

    What a game,

    OUR DAY !

    It goes to show what can happen with a little belief, a whole lot of heart, a touch of luck.

    Well done Killie, thanks Kenny Shiels - not to mention Mixu before - Fantastic

    For the town, for the chairman, for the fans, for the players .. for all connected with Kilmarnock Football Club..."Thank you" the rollercoaster you have put me through the last 45 years or so.. it has been great - well not the relegations, the frozen trips to Alloa, and Brechin in the 80`s, the 4-1 gubbing by Ayr while I was in Australia - the gut wrencing 0-0 at Easter Road to stay in the Premier Leage, getting thumped 5-1 by Hibs last time, the horrible 0-0 Falkirk draw a couple of years ago... ALL DISTANT Memories now.

    Too young to truly remember he League Championship win, this along with the Cup Final win of `97, beating Ayr 6-1 (not to mention the smi-final this year), Promotions, beating Rangers 1-0 at the last game at the "Old" Rugby Park, this is our "Finest Hour"

    Please let this be a lesson to all other single town clubs out there.... it can happen ... It just did.

    Believe !

  • Comment number 4.

    A fine, fine performance. To win a trophy by playing football, not conceding any goals in the competition and to beat the future champions in the final makes it one of Killie's finest moments. To have been a passenger on that journey has been a fantastic experience.

    However, to experience the joy of DVTs goal and to then find out about the events that transpired afterwards was difficult to accept. I cannot imagine the emotions that poor Liam and his fellow family members went and are still going through. My thoughts and prayers are with the Kelly family...

  • Comment number 5.

    As a Celtic fan I have to say well done to Killie.

    The best team won on the day and Killie weathered the early storm and played some very entertaining stuff on the deck and through their midfield. Very open game to watch and not the snorefest I expected: both sides gave it a go at various phases in the game. Nice to see someone else get a shot of a trophy, so well done to Kenny Shiels and his boys.

    Bit disappointed about the immediate reaction from Celtic after the game and the lack of grace shown by some of the management and players: describing Kilmarnock's win as 'undeserved' and the penalty decision as 'criminal'. The penalty incident was uncertain at best imo but no doubt some will use it as an excuse for petty paranoid conspiracy theories that have as little credibility at the present time as they did last season during the embarrassing 'honest mistakes' campaign. In truth Celtic's players just were not good enough yesterday and it showed. Why they took their best defender - Rogne - off was a mystery. Wilson is far too casual at the best of times and all of Kille's chances came on his side.

    Condolences to young Liam Kelly's family. Very sad.

  • Comment number 6.

    I truly concur with all that KTID has said.

    Please accept my aplogies for not passing on my condolances in my previous message.

    Rest In Peace Mr Kelly, you can be proud of your son Liam.

  • Comment number 7.

    Good result for Scottish football in general, and Killie in particular. Against a background of dismay and financial meltdown elsewhere, which I've followed from S. Ontario.

    At the risk of receiving a torrent of abuse, here are some views on the overall picture, of why a league system of over 40 clubs in a population of 5 mllion is unrealistic. Assuming Rangers die and Celtic leaves for the South, there should be a total overhaul of a system which is more suited to 1925, with no cars or TV games, instead of today's reality. Instead of being terrified to make changes in case it all comes crashing down (I suspect this is the SPL & SFA nightmare), here's a suggestion to save it from collapsing anyway.

    1. Get rid of all the little clubs - this just takes away from the game experience. By having a "Premier" league Scotland has gone part way towards this decision already.

    2. Set up a league of 16 clubs, selected by population density. Having a situation where Annan had a team at a high level is just a joke, and SFA should be embarassed.

    3. Combine one club in Kirkcaldy/Methil. One in Stirling/Alloa, and one merging Falkirk, Stenhousemuir and E. Stirling; merge Killie and Ayr; merge Airdrie and Albion; merge Hamilton and Motherwell; merge Dundee and United; keep Inverness,
    Aberdeen, Perth, Edinburgh (two clubs); Paisley, Glasgow (Thistle and Clyde merged), Greenock/Gourock area,; fold Cowdenbeath into Dumfermline. Get rid of the rest and let them run their own semi-pro organizaton.

    If presented as driving the game into this century, it could be accepted.

    4. MLS is booming because it offers a special event atmosphere, and is not dragged down by dozens of little clubs who are kept around because they have always been there, whether or not they add anything to the business model or game experience. Yes, it is a business - just ask those who ran Rangers and who clearly did not understand this. Average MLS attendance over the first few ganes is about 20,700, and Montreal's home opener drew 58,000 on Saturday. Compare that to St. Johnstone (my childhood heroes) in the SPL drawing about 3000 - 4000 on a good day.

    MLS controls who joins the league and the standard of operations. The Scottish leagues (including the SPL) have to reform their set up and grab control before the future is written for them, and soon.

    5. Lastly, and this is sure to cause an uproar, now that the 16 are set and on strong financial footings (due to recapitaliz

  • Comment number 8.

    Just to complete para 5, that got cut: (due to recapitalization and sale of surplus grounds) get rid of relegation and promotion from lower divisions. Make league membership special. Just my thoughts, anyway.

  • Comment number 9.

    Magnificent result for us on Sunday. Everyone, including myself, had written of our chances of getting anything. Kenny Shiels tactics have been totally vindicated here and the man showed a lot of class in his post match interview. Shame that the same could not be said of Neil Lennon.
    I'm sure all our thoughts are with Liam and his family. Just goes to show that there is more to life than football, something I hope Old Firm fans will remember going into next Sundays match.

  • Comment number 10.

    I think Kilmarnock full deserved their win. Celtic lacked hunger and I think too many of them got caught up in the hype despite the best efforts of the management to dispel thoughts of the Treble. Neil Lennon has been through a lot and I think that he is a great manager but he let himself down at the end. Jock Stein woudl never have made such an unsporting comment and Neil, if he seeks real "Greatness" must learn to be gracious in defeat. The death of Liam Kelly's father puts the whole thing into perspective and it's time ALL footbal supporters from ALL clubs realised what is really important in life. It is NOT football.

  • Comment number 11.

    it is jim if celtic had done the treble it would be the nadir for all non old firm fans.stand up william collum living up to his surname. please for the sake of scottish football can all u guys in black referee this way in the spl and then our game might stand a wee chance. a principle factor in the old firms mediocre european results is how unaffected the refs are by the old firm "aura", they are gifted points by our "weak" officials season after season in the spl. word of warning though it would have been preferable if the winner had been nodded in by 'willy from kilwinning' rather than' dieter from tornhaut' there were only six scots on the pitch (i think) on sunday we have been down this route before !!!!!!! going back to the refs craig thomson had another shocker in the edin derby on sunday how is this guy going to the euros.

  • Comment number 12.

    Condolences to Liam Kelly and his family.

  • Comment number 13.

    Terrible tragedy for Liam Kelly and his family on what should have been the greatest day of his career and I'm sure the thoughts and prayers of all go out to them.

    Killie deserved their win because they took one of their chances while Celtic failed to take any of theirs. I thought it was a penalty from where I sat, and I had a good view, but that doesn't take anything away from the victors who played well, stuck to their game plan and vindicated their manager who may speak in "tongues" from time to time but certainly knows what he's doing.
    Considering the players he lost close season I think he's done a remarkable job.

    Once again Celtic failed to rise to the occasion with most being well below par. Different game and result I think if Hooper had scored early on and if it had gone to extra time but that's football.

    I take issue with those criticising Lennon and wonder if they actually heard his interview with Jim Spence. The points he made were valid, from a Celtic standpoint, and I wonder where all the critics are when Alex Ferguson rants about some perceived injustice such as not playing 20 minutes extra time in order to let ManU catch up or win a match.

    Killies victory is a shot in the arm for Scottish football and shows what can be done if teams are brave enough and certainly proves the point made for ages by those of us who desire a more ambitious approach from teams outwith Celtic and Rangers. It needn't all be doom and gloom if Rangers are reduced in stature if clubs and SPL are brave enough to grasp the opportunity.

  • Comment number 14.

    Very pleased for Killie what an excellent result.

    I was chuckling though watching all the Celtic fans leave in droves and not even have the decency to applaud their team collecting their runners up medals. This, after their recent win at Easter Road where Chick was applauding them as the best fans in the game for singing the entire match when they'd so clearly been handed the league by Rangers demise.

    It's easy to be great fan when your team wins honours so frequently. The true metal comes when things don't go as you'd hoped. Fair enough they didn't win, but getting to a cup final is still something to be proud of.

  • Comment number 15.

    Its a good time to be a Killie fan. I have never known a mid-table team who can beat every team above them in the league but lose (often heavily) to the teams below.

    Still, never beaten the Gers home and away until now. Never won the LC until now.
    One to go - never beaten Celtic at Parkhead for 56 years. Its our last game before the split.

    Like the LC final, I just can't see it happening - then again....

  • Comment number 16.

    Btw would also like to add my condolences to young Liam Kelly's family. How tragic for them.

  • Comment number 17.

    #15 Don't get too carried away, the game on 7th. April is at Rugby Park.

  • Comment number 18.

    Just noticed that no one has spoken about the fact that Rangers are fundraising selling union jack flags (hoping to sell 43,000) on Sunday for the old firm match.I,m not an old firm supporter but find this crass and beyond belief.Why aren,t they selling rangers fc flags? Surely the SFA should be questioning this decision.

  • Comment number 19.

    @18 dont mind the fund raising as long as "the doncaster" ensures rangers stay within the spl rules and use the fund raising to fully pay the clubs that they have retained ticket money from for these clubs home games. the fact this guy is at the helm of our league is frightening "unlimited sanctions against a member club for late wages" dont forget. where is he now when action is required, at the barbers getting another of those keep the receipt haircuts is my guess.

  • Comment number 20.

    #18 How ironic that the club that failed to pay tax is selling union jacks and the supporters will no doubt be singing the national anthem during the game.

    Some things never change it would seem.

  • Comment number 21.

    digs at gers aside... well done killie!! really pleased for them.. Rob04 i am pleased to see your concession that Lennon and some of the players did not conduct themselves well.. Lennon particularly so, i am not sure that man will ever stop being his own worst enemy. still you boys will win the league so look forward to that. I'm hopeful the jamobos can give you a shoeing in the semis of the cup! beattie will get a brace!

    I hope more fans will start thinking about turning up to rugby park again now. I think Mortherwell and Killie are best placed to take advantage of gers' woes..

    Shiels is a great and honest man i have alot of respect for him! he is indeed a football man for football's sake! we need as many of them as we can get.

    So so sad about Mr Kelly. my thought are with Liam and the family. Killie players should enjoy their victory though, their victory was not to blame.

  • Comment number 22.


    Some fundraisers do cakes and coffee but others take it to a whole different level!!

    The words 'Rangers', 'crass' and 'disbelief' do have a familiar ring to them!

    Didn't think comments like '..I don't think they (Killie) deserved to win..' are helpful and like Arsene Wenger they should attract criticism because the game stats didn't show that much difference between the teams. We can all indulge in 'if's, but's and maybe's'.

    Nice to see Craig Beattie back in the Scottish game. Good natural goalscorer for you if he can stay fit.

  • Comment number 23.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 24.

    Delighted that Killie won the Cup.
    If only the money was shared equally (>8% per club) we might get more outcomes like it.

    Also Jim, Why do we get the EPL table beside the Scottish fixtures list ?
    You've been with the BBC for a while now, you must have some clout !
    Doesn't it bother you ?

  • Comment number 25.

    As a Celtic supporter I would like to add my condolences to Liam Kelly and his family. What should have been one of the happiest days of their lives turned into tragedy.

    Congratulations to the Kilmarnock team. The town has been through some hard times with troubles over the Johnnie Walker factory, and also the team had to struggle to stay in the SPL not so long ago. Kilmarnock fully deserve the success they've now got.

  • Comment number 26.

    #7 I really don't think you are very up to speed with what is happening in Scotland or that taking a north American model and transplanting it here will work at all. I would say all of your points don't make sense for the following reasons:

    1) who are you (or I) to say get rid of the little clubs? Most of them are well run, debt free, and I don't mean this as a criticism, on the basis no one would lend then any money! Furthermore, if Montrose weren't playing Brechin would this boost the crowds of St J v Well? Absurd.

    2) The exception that proves the rule. I agree in part with this one, in so far as there should be an SPL 2 and a professional level of 16-20 clubs. However, this should be based on existing clubs not manufactured franchises. Also, if Brechin, Montrose, Huntly, Annan, Pollok, Auchinleck rise up the leagues why should earn the right to be there, if they meet the stadium criteria.

    3) Utter nonsense! I would never ever want to see my team, Killie,merge with Ayr and I would never travel to Ayr to watch the new team. I would save my money and watch the odd EPL game. I realise you will point out ICT, but that worked to an extent as in one town and some of the others ones you suggest Thistle and Clyde are not in the same city and Greenock/Gourock area, er call them Greenock/Gourock Morton. How would this suddenly produce more fans than Morton get now? All you would do is lose existing fans. Will merging Rangers and Celtic suddenly allow them to challenge Barcelona? Absurd.

    4) Montreal metropolitan area 3.8 million people. Perth, Scotland 45,000 people. You don't need to be a business genius to understand the respctive crowds. Are the Sainties not doing better in getting a higher % of their city without the 'special event atmosphere'? Also, to get into the SPL you do need to meet specific criteria, so this is factually incorrect.

    5) My job is in property, so surplus stadia in Cowdenbeath, Methil, Larbert, Kilmarnock, Coatbridge will not bring in huge sums and in the current market are a liability rather than a source of capital. Also, by getting rid of promotion and relegation you are creating meaningless games that people will not pay to see. Look at the play off system in England and we should try to copy this not the MLS.

    I am not criticising you for offering fresh ideas and debate, thinking outside the box, but I'm sorry but these are just bad ideas.

    Prayers for Jack Kelly and all the family.

  • Comment number 27.

    A great day to be a Killie fan - and we finaly managed to complete a domestic "treble" of our own.

    I have been a bit surprised by the almost unanimous praise and respect shown by Celtic fans. In fact, any vitriol has been saved for the referee and every one I have met has been very gracious in defeat.

    I think anyone who knows football will realise that here are two teams who like to get it down and play a passing game. Long may it continue.

  • Comment number 28.

    Congrats to killie for a well earned victory,its allways a breath of fresh air when a non OF team gets some silverware.
    Condolences to the kelly family,a crying shame.
    Most celtic fans who know their stuff had no complaints.
    Lennon,s entitled to his opinion regarding the penalty,but as all us non OF fans have had to endure over the years only one opinion counts,the ref.

    There were signs in the 2 games leading up to this final that not all was well for tic.
    A dour 1-1 draw with the dons,was followed by a flattering 4-0 scoreline in the cup v 10 man united.Celtic never threatend uniteds goal once during the 1st half,and had united kept 11 on the pitch the treble may well have been over a week earlier.

  • Comment number 29.

    Song of the week goes to the gers fans in the shed who were wound up by a blue clad arab.Who,s the ?????? in the blue they chanted,sitting there in their gers tops.
    The penny dropped when arabs in the george fox stand stood up and pointed at them.
    DOH!!!!! It never rains but it pours.

  • Comment number 30.

    Mr Spence's first question to Mr Lennon (and I quote):

    "Neil you've just had a look at the incident which for you I think will will really make you fairly distraught I think, you had a look at that penalty incident again there, was it a penalty?"

    Nice to see unbiased open questions in your interviews Jim.


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