Shiels delighted with Killie win
Kilmarnock manager Kenny Shiels was delighted to see his side pick up three points against Ross County after criticising both sides the last time they met in a goalless draw.
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Killie comprehensively ended Ross County's impressive run of form, the 3-0 reverse registering the Dingwall club's heaviest defeat of their first season in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League.
A fairly even and entertaining first half, with both sides passing up chances to open the scoring, was recognised by Shiels who took time to praise his County's contribution as well as his own team's domination of the second half.
"I thought it was a good game of football," said Shiels. "Ross County made a fantastic contribution. I said after the 0-0 game at Dingwall that both teams should have points deducted for producing such a poor game, but Saturday was different and both teams contributed to a really good game of football."
The Rugby Park boss was confident that his side would convert those chances into goals in the second half and was equally delighted that his decision to prefer experience to youth would emphatically end his side's miserable run of home results.
"We were a bit frustrated at half-time but I told the players that we were creative and the more likely to score. There was a great work rate from the entire team but I was really pleased with the movement of the front two, with Paul Heffernan alongside Cillian Sheridan for the first time."
It was Heffernan's return from injury, for his first start since March, which proved to be decisive.
Having passed up a couple of chances which forced Michael Fraser into some fine saves, the small striker guided home a header for the opener.
His second, after a sensational strike for Gary Harkins, capped not only a long awaited return but restored a cutting edge that Killie have been missing.
Heffernan admitted that he was match rusty after being sidelined for so long.
"It was good to get the win and I am delighted to get a couple of goals but I don't feel 100% yet and maybe if sharper I could have scored with the couple of the earlier chances I had," said Heffernan.
Derek Adams also rued missed chances which he felt might have changed the game.
The County boss said: "We had a couple of chances - maybe the best in the first half that we missed - and I always felt that whoever scored the first would win and that's what Kilmarnock did."
Perhaps responding to the criticism Shiels levelled at County's tactics after their first meeting, Adams said: "We did exceptionally well to compete with Kilmarnock in the first half as they can spend a lot more on players.
"We managed to stop them playing and in the second half they became a long ball team. But once they scored they gained in confidence and started passing well."
Shiels did not agree with Adams' view about the game and was disappointed about the reaction of the authorities to his comments the previous week about referee Euan Norris and the successful appeal against Cammy Bell's red card.
"I had a couple of telephone conversations with the referee chief John Fleming last weekend and was very surprised by his comments about me on Friday," admitted Shiels.
"I find it ironic that the SFA comment a week after the game and a day after our appeal. I think there is something fishy about that and just hope we don't get punished for winning our appeal."