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Kenny Shiels keeping quiet on doctor's orders

By Stuart McKinley

Kenny Shiels will no longer conduct post-match interviews with the press – to avoid plunging himself into the kind of media controversy that played a part in his sacking from Kilmarnock last year.

The former Coleraine, Ballymena United and Larne manager, who took over at Scottish Championship club Greenock Morton last month made the decision after advice from his doctor, who suggested that the 57-year-old struggled to keep his emotions in check immediately after matches.

During his days in the Irish League Shiels was affectionately known as 'crazy Kenny' and even then he never feared speaking his mind.

During his time in charge at Killie, Shiels incurred the wrath of Scottish FA disciplinary chiefs on a number of occasions, after criticising referee and those in charge of the game in Scotland.

He also famously became involved in a verbal feud with Celtic manager Neil Lennon when he called the Parkhead club 'Paranoid FC'.

Lennon responded by comparing his fellow Ulsterman to Ricky Gervais' character David Brent, from the BBC comedy series The Office.

Shiels was hit with a four-match touchline ban just days before his sacking by Kilmarnock in June last year and it has always been thought his continued run-ins with the authorities was as much a reason for his dismissal as the team's record on the pitch.

Now he will pass the post-match media responsibilities onto his assistant, David Hopkins, in an attempt to avoid further reprimands.

"Every decision I make must be in the best interests of Morton and I'm very susceptible to being controversialised and it's happened to me in the past," said Shiels.

"I'm not going to go down that road anymore.

"Therefore, in the best interests of the club, I think it's better that David Hopkins does that on matchdays. David is very articulate and can put our point after the game."

Shiels, who also managed the Northern Ireland under-17 international team before joining Kilmarnock in 2010, initially as assistant manager to Mixu Paatelainen before becoming boss when the Finn left 12 months later, had to watch his first two matches as Morton boss from the stand because of a suspension.

He was given a four-match ban, with two of the games suspended, when he was deemed to have been guilty of bringing the game into disrepute for questioning the impartiality of the Scottish FA's judicial panel and the integrity of Celtic.

After his sacking by Kilmarnock Shiels said all he had ever tried to do was protect the club from what he felt were injustices and ended up becoming the victim of that.

"I have spoken with the doctor and you get emotionally imbalanced," explained Shiels.

"It's important I don't compromise my position as manager of Morton Football Club.

"There's a name for it – you can't help it.

"If someone asks you a question, you're emotionally imbalanced at that time and you feel an urge to tell the truth.

"And, if you feel hard done by, you want to tell the truth about something that happened in the game and you become a victim of that. There are people out there waiting for you to drop your guard.

"It's my nature that's the biggest problem and Neil Lennon has that problem too at Celtic. He will tell you he is the same – when you are passionate about something and you put all your energies into it.

"I am probably not intelligent enough to deal with that because journalists can catch me. I don't think it's fair to condemn Scottish football. It's not their fault, it's my fault."

Belfast Telegraph


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