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'He Is OK As He Is Used To It, But His Mother Isn’t Taking It Too Well'

'He Is OK As He Is Used To It, But His Mother Isn’t Taking It Too Well'
PJ Browne
By PJ Browne
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Few are better placed to recognise the achievement of Dean Shiels than his father Kenny.

At the age of just eight, Dean Shiels lost sight in one eye following a domestic accident. Despite a deficit of depth perception, undoubtedly a key attribute on the football pitch, Shiels has still managed to carve out a career spanning nearly 15 years. He is also a Northern Ireland international with 14 caps.

Dean played under his father Kenny, now manager of Derry City, at Kilmarnock. Among others, the 32-year-old has also lined out for Hib, Rangers and Dundalk.


Now at Dunfermline, Shiels was the subject of what Falkirk called "abhorrent" abuse by their own fans on Tuesday during a Scottish Championship game. Fans threw fake eyeballs onto the pitch in an attempt to taunt Shiels who had an eye removed in 2006.

Speaking to the Scottish Sun regarding the abuse, Kenny Shiels said supporters are "driving Dean out of Scotland".

"This is the final straw. It has to stop, the SPFL must do something.

"If it’s just young fans, you can maybe give them a fool’s pardon. But it was not. There were older people there too. It’s crass behaviour, low stuff. You don’t do that to people with a handicap.


Kenny Shiels said that his son has, unfortunately, become accustomed to certain types of abuse. However, Dean's mother is taking the situation far worse than her son.

There is a victim in all this, and it’s Dean. He is OK as he is used to it, but his mother isn’t taking it too well.

This first happened a long time ago, but it’s all been resurrected because of the incident in the Dunfermline v Falkirk game last October. Dean was sent off for a tackle, and it was unlike him. He deserved a red card for the challenge, but he’d been goaded that much, he couldn’t take any more.

Dean had to put up with abuse when he was a Hibs player and they played Hearts. But this should have died a death a long time ago. Now, 11 or 12 years on, it’s happening again.

It’s not nice for a boy who has mapped out a career in professional football, which with his handicap is a fantastic achievement.

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