sport

Shiels wary of trio's fatigue

Kilmarnock manager Kenny Shiels admits he had mixed feelings about his players being on international duty this week.

Liam Kelly earned his first full Scotland cap in last night's 2-1 win in Luxembourg, while goalkeeper Cammy Bell was also called-up but did not feature in the match.

Rory McKeown completed the trio with an appearance for Northern Ireland Under-21s in their defeat against England on Tuesday.

Shiels is thrilled to see his players and the club earn international recognition but, with an SPL game at Dundee United on Friday night to prepare for, says the timing was not ideal.

He said: "You've got mixed feelings. You want them to be called up, it's recognition for our club.

"It's really pleasing that we're striking a chord with the international team and we're getting players capped and representing their country.

"But hopefully it doesn't have an adverse impact on their game preparation.

"We've had three players on international duty which isn't the best preparation but it happens to clubs all the time. We are just part of that.

"Saturday would have been better for the game for us."

On the prospect of playing on a Friday night, Shiels added: "The summer months - August, September, April, May - are good times but the climate really isn't conducive to supporters coming home from work and travelling.

"If it was Kilmarnock against Ayr, or Dundee and Dundee United, teams in close proximity, then I would say it could benefit the crowd.

"But I think it takes from the crowd a little bit. You just have to bite the bullet."

Killie striker Cillian Sheridan was more enthusiastic about the prospect of a Friday night fixture than his manager.

He said: "I don't mind the idea. It's something different, rather than 3pm on a Saturday all the time.

"I prefer playing in the evening rather than during the day. I've got no problem with it."

Sheridan is hoping to open his goal-scoring account against United in the clash at Tannadice.

He said: "They've got a lot of attacking players but, for me, I'm up against the defenders.

"I've actually never scored against Dundee United, the back four has always been really solid any time I've played against them.

"I'll be hoping to get my first goal against them.

"They will want a win after losing last week and we'll want to build on our win against Ross County so it should be a good game."