sport

Shiels relishing Hampden return

Dean Shiels is relishing a return to the scene of one of the greatest triumphs of his career so far when he takes to the field at Hampden.

The attacking midfielder was part of the Kilmarnock side who defeated Celtic to claim the Scottish Communities League Cup last March.

This time around, he will be making the trip to the national stadium with Rangers in very different circumstances, when the Light Blues take on Queen's Park in theThird Division.

Shiels said: "I've got great memories from winning the cup. It was a special moment for me and my family.

"It will be good to go back there tomorrow and re-live those memories.

"I always thought the next time I would be at Hampden would be in a cup final but I'm really looking forward to this game tomorrow."

Queen's Park have sold out their allocation of 2327 tickets for the original Glasgow derby, a 300 per cent increase on their usual home support at the national stadium.

The visitors had sold more than 25,000 tickets as of this afternoon and, with a total allocation of 40,000 seats available to Rangers fans, that number could swell further by kick-off.

Shiels added: "It's a unique situation. I don't think many teams would be capable of taking that amount of support.

"It's something to be proud of. Our fans this season have been really supportive.

"They have been with us at every away game and, in every home game, you can see them coming out in their numbers.

"It won't surprise me what the turn-out will be tomorrow."

Meanwhile, Shiels has defended his father, Kenny, who has found himself in trouble with the Scottish Football Association on a number of occasions this season.

And the Rangers player claims the Kilmarnock boss has not been given the recognition he deserves for his achievements with the Rugby Park side.

He said: "It's disappointing how he is being treated at the moment but that's the way he is.

"He's been portrayed by the media in a certain way that's completely untrue.

"For anyone who knows him off the park, or if you asked any of his friends, he is a completely different character.

"I think he's been portrayed as being angry and unhappy all the time, when it's actually the complete opposite when he's away from football.

"I think it's because he wants to win so much, and he puts so much into the job, that you see his emotions coming out.

"If he's asked a question, he will answer it honestly, while some managers will say what the press want to hear rather than what they think.

"If you're going to go down the road of wanting communication between the press and the managers and players, there has got to be a bit more honesty in football, rather than saying things for the sake of it."

He added: "I can't understand why he's been over-looked for all the personal awards.

"He won the League Cup in his first season, they beat Rangers twice last year, they beat Celtic in Glasgow twice in this calendar year.

"Maybe the media attention he gets means he does get over-looked for how well he has done at Kilmarnock.

"I think that should be recognised."