Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 30 August 2014

Northern Ireland star Shiels handed apology after abuse by fans

Dean Shiels has shrugged off the jibes that have forced Scottish Premier League club St Mirren to issue the Northern Ireland international with an apology for the behaviour of supporters.

The 23-year-old was subjected to vile abuse from a small section of St Mirren fans when he was playing for Hibernian on Saturday over the eye he lost as a child.

The player and his family had kept the fact that he only had sight in one eye a private matter until two-and-a-half years ago when he underwent surgery to have the affected eye removed when it began to cause him growing discomfort.

Shiels reacted angrily to the taunts when he was substituted during the 0-0 draw at Love Street and had to be held back by coach Donald Park, but St Mirren have promised to take action against offending fans.

"I get it quite a lot at away grounds," said Shiels. "I don’t mind it actually, it’s not a problem and I just have to concentrate on the game.

"It’s part and parcel of what has happened and I just have to deal with it.

"Obviously you hear it more when you are coming off. I’m amazed I still get it after this time."

St Mirren branded the conduct of the fans as unacceptable in their apology.

"St Mirren Football Club wish to make an unreserved apology to Hibernian player Dean Shiels in regard to the incident involving one of our supporters on Saturday as no player should be subject to that level of personal abuse," said the club’s statement.

"St Mirren are a family and community club and we have a policy on unacceptable conduct in place with allows the club to eject and ban supporters from both home and away matches and the incident on Saturday is covered by this policy.”

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