Kenny Shiels

Kenny Shiels (born 27 April 1956 in Magherafelt)[1] is a Northern Irish football player and manager, who is currently the manager of the Northern Ireland women's national team. He spent all of his playing career at different levels in the Irish Football League.

Kenny Shiels
Kenny Shiels.jpg
Kenny Shiels in 2017
Personal information
Date of birth (1956-04-27) 27 April 1956 (age 65)
Place of birth Magherafelt, Northern Ireland
Club information
Current team
Northern Ireland women (manager)
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
Bridgend United
Tobermore United
Tobermore United
Ballymena United
0000–1992 Tobermore United
Harland & Wolff Welders
1992–1994 Carrick Rangers
Teams managed
0000–1992 Tobermore United
1992–1994 Carrick Rangers
1994–2000 Coleraine
1999–2001 Moyola Park
2001–2005 Ballymena United
2005–2006 Larne
2006–2007 Northern Ireland U17
2007–2010 Tranmere Rovers (youth coach)
2010–2011 Kilmarnock (assistant manager)
2011–2013 Kilmarnock
2013–2014 Greenock Morton
2015 BEC Tero Sasana
2015–2018 Derry City
2019– Northern Ireland women
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Shiels then moved into coaching with the Northern Ireland national football team (under 17s) and English league side Tranmere Rovers (head of youth development). He moved to Scottish Premier League club Kilmarnock in 2010 to assist manager Mixu Paatelainen. Shiels was promoted to manager in 2011, after Paatelainen was appointed manager of Finland. Kilmarnock won the Scottish League Cup in his first season in charge, but he was sacked in June 2013 after he had been frequently punished by the Scottish Football Association for making controversial comments. Shiels was appointed manager of Scottish Championship club Greenock Morton in December 2013, and resigned in May 2014.[2]

After a spell with BEC Tero Sasana, Shiels managed League of Ireland club Derry City for three years. He was appointed manager of the Northern Ireland women's national team in May 2019.



Shiels spent his entire playing career in Northern Irish football, both in the Irish Football League and at lower levels. Beginning at minor club Bridgend United, he subsequently appeared for Tobermore United, Coleraine, Distillery, Tobermore United again, Larne, Ballymena United, Tobermore United for a third time, Harland & Wolff Welders and Carrick Rangers.[1]


Tobermore UnitedEdit

Shiels third spell at Tobermore United was as player-manager and whilst in charge at the club Shiels won the prestigious North West Senior Cup in the 1989–90 season, as well as the North West Intermediate Cup in 1988–89 and 1989–90.[1]

Carrick RangersEdit

Shiels got his first league appointment in 1992 when he took charge of Carrick Rangers, his first Irish League side. "King Kenny", as he became known at Taylors Avenue, proved a success at the club, winning the County Antrim Shield and securing a mid-table finish for the generally struggling seaside club.[3]


Shiels left Carrickfergus in December 1994 to take charge of Coleraine. The 1994–95 season ended in relegation for Coleraine after the previously unitary Irish League split into a new two division set-up, Coleraine placed in the eight team First Division below the Premier Division). The season was only three games old when Shiels, who had managed the club for only thirteen games in total, was sacked by a group of club directors. Two days later he was asked to return for a single match and then following this the board decided to endorse Shiels' management for the rest of the season.[4] Securely in charge, Shiels led the club to an 8–0 drubbing of Newry Town in the next match, the second of what proved to be a twenty match unbeaten league run.[5] With his younger brother Sammy Shiels, who had played under Kenny Shiels' management at Carrick, leading the line in scoring 25 league goals,[6] Coleraine won the title, and thus promotion, a full fifteen points ahead of runners-up Ballymena United.[7] The club would also win the inaugural Irish News Cup, a competition for Irish League and League of Ireland clubs in North-West Ireland, that same season.[1]

The following season began with the Ulster Cup and Coleraine underlined their credentials by winning this competition. They carried their form into the league, with Shiels' men sitting top of the league after eight matches.[8] The club remained in the hunt for the league title until the end of the season when they were pipped for the honours by Crusaders.[8] This was to be the high-water mark of Shiels' time at Coleraine as the club began to slip back into a more mid-table position, despite some comparatively heavy investment in playing staff.[8] During the 1999–2000 season, things came to a head when the club lost consecutive matches to Limavady United in the Gold Cup and Linfield in the league, causing Shiels to tender his resignation.[8]

Moyola ParkEdit

According to the official club website Shiels was manager of Moyola Park from January 1999 to December 2000,[9] although these dates overlap in part with his time at Coleraine. Nonetheless Shiels was in charge of the club and even signed a youthful Ivan Sproule for them.[10]

Ballymena UnitedEdit

Shiels next appointment was at Ballymena United, where he was confirmed in the managerial chair on 2 January 2001.[11][12] The club were battling relegation and ultimately Shiels was unable to prevent the club from dropping down at the end of the season.[13] Shiels responded by making a number of big name signings, including Tommy Wright, Paul Beesley and Liberian international Leon Browne, but none of them proved a success and the club finished in fifth place.[13] The club improved significantly in the 2002–03 season, although ultimately they managed only second place in the First Division, as well as the Ulster Cup and the Country Antrim Shield.[13] The league position was enough to ensure promotion, although the club had led the table until near the end when Dungannon Swifts took over at the top.[13] With Nigel Jemson added to the side Shiels' Braidmen proved a hit in the top flight, finishing sixth and qualifying for the Intertoto Cup.[13] Shiels again signed some big names, bringing in Rory Hamill, Gary Smyth, Gordon Simms and Tim McCann but the club failed to make any headway.[13] He was sacked as manager on 4 May 2005.[11][14]


Shiels took charge of Larne for the 2005–06 season[15] and took the club to two cup semi-finals, but his full-time job with the IFA meant that he was unable to fully devote his time to the club and so he stood down at the end of the season.[16]

Northern Ireland U17Edit

Alongside his club jobs, Shiels was also employed by the Irish Football Association to manage the Northern Ireland national under-17 football team, a role he retained, until 2007, when new senior manager Nigel Worthington brought in his own men at youth levels.[17] Shiels took charge of Larne for the 2005–06 season and took the club to two cup semi-finals, but his full-time job with the IFA meant that he was unable to fully devote his time to the club and so he stood down at the end of the season.[16]


Shiels joined Tranmere Rovers in May 2007, as their head of youth.[18] He left Tranmere in June 2010 to become assistant manager at Kilmarnock, following his three-year stint at the club.[18]

After Mixu Paatelainen left Kilmarnock to become manager of the Finland national football team, Shiels became caretaker manager.[19][20] His first game in charge was a goalless draw with St Johnstone on 2 April 2011.[21]

On 15 June 2011, he became manager of Kilmarnock on a permanent basis and upon being manager, he soon added Jimmy Nicholl as his assistant manager, who just quit Cowdenbeath.[22] He helped Kilmarnock achieve their first home win against Rangers in 17 years on 27 November 2011, in a 1–0 victory at Rugby Park, with a Manuel Pascali goal in the 80th minute.[23] After the match, Shiels said a win over Rangers was a "fantastic win" for the club, in addition, stated his opinion that people in Ayrshire, who are Old Firm supporters, are not real supporters for Kilmarnock.[24] He wrote in his Daily Record columns that he was critical of fans would watch the Old Firm, rather than their local team.[25]

In the January transfer window, Shiels soon added his son, Dean, and Ben Gordon.[26] He also helped guide Killie to the League Cup semi-finals, beating rivals Ayr United. Despite the win, Shiels criticised rival team tactics, believing the club should have done more.[27] On 18 February 2012, Kilmarnock beat Rangers 1–0, with Shiels' son Dean scoring in the 12th minute, making him the first Kilmarnock manager to beat Rangers twice in one season.[28] After the match, Shiels said a win over Rangers was dedicated to the club's supporters and praised his son, who scored the only goal in the match, for his performance as "outstanding".[29]

On 18 March 2012, Shiels' Kilmarnock side travelled to Hampden Park for the League Cup Final, where they upset the odds by beating Celtic 1–0, with Dieter van Tornhout scoring the crucial goal in the 83rd minute. Killie's joy was tempered by the death of Liam Kelly's father, Jack, who suffered a fatal heart attack at the final whistle of the game. On the win, Shiels stated the team "are thinking more about Liam (Kelly) than our triumphalism".[30] He then told BBC Scotland's Jonathan Sutherland, winning the cup is "unbelievable",[31] in addition "a great emotion" for the Kilmarnock's supporters.[32] Following his side's historic cup win, Shiels announced his intention to stay at the club, having a rejected a move from an English club in the past week.[33] A week later, on 22 May 2012, Shiels signed a two-year contract extension.[34]

At the start of the 2012–13 season, Shiels was given two-match touchline ban by the SFA in June, having served one suspension on the last game of the season and miss one match at the opening game of the season. His touchline ban was given over commenting made about a referee's decisions made in a match between Celtic and St Johnstone.[35] Following a controversial penalty in a 2–0 defeat against Hibernian on 16 September 2012, Shiels expressed support of needing TV evidence to be shown and branded Hibernian's player Paul Cairney as a "diver".[36] On 28 October 2012, Shiels led Kilmarnock to a historic win at Celtic Park against Celtic. The victory was Kilmarnock's first win in the East End of Glasgow for 57 years and led to prominent Killie fans claiming Shiels is the best thing to ever happen to Kilmarnock.[37] After the match, Shiels praised Kelly, whose father died of a heart attack in March, for performance, making him [Shiels] pleased and also praised two of his youngster's for his performance.[38] A week after a memorable win over Celtic, Shiels would report referee Euan Norris of making inappropriate comments, following a 2-1 default against Inverness Caledonian Thistle, which Norris would send-off Cammy Bell.[39][40] His support even attracted FIFA vice-president Jim Boyce, suggesting that SFA should hire Shiels.[41] His remark also led to Shiels given a five-match touchline ban after disciplinary hearing with the SFA.[42] Following this, Shiels then appealed against his decision,[43] but will serve his touchline ban.[44]

Another referee, Andrew Dallas, reaction on Shiels allegations as extremely "surprised and disappointed".[45] Shiels would response Dallas' comment by accusing him of an "outrageous fabrication" on turning against him.[46] He since he has no regret accusing Dallas, insisting it was a clear conscience.[47] Once again, Shiels received a four-game ban after being found guilty of two charges over comment about Andrew Dallas.[48]

In March 2013, Shiels signed a returning striker, Kris Boyd, whose career began at Kilmarnock, on a free transfer.[49] At the end of the 2012–13 season, with the club finishing in ninth place, and enduring their worst home record in more than 30 years, Shiels future at Kilmarnock was in doubt[50] and after making comments regarding Celtic in a radio interview,[51] he received a four-game touchline ban. Kilmarnock were also found guilty of failing to ensure that Shiels complied with SFA protocol.[52] Shiels had his contract terminated thereafter, with the club citing a poor home record in 2012–13 and the punishments by the SFA as their reasoning.[53] His sacking was criticised by many players from past and present,[54][55] Shortly after being sacked, Shiels spoke of his sacking by giving an interview to BBC Scotland's Stevie Miller and described his departure left him "heartbroken".[53]

Greenock MortonEdit

Since leaving Kilmarnock, Shiels continued to be on the football spotlight, having been linked with a move to League One side Swindon Town[56] In mid-November, Shiels unsuccessfully interviewed for the manager's job at Inverness Caledonian Thistle, after which he complained that Scottish clubs preferred appointing people who had played for either half of the Old Firm.[57] He was appointed manager of Scottish Championship club Greenock Morton in December 2013.[58]

Upon his return to Scottish Football, Shiels served a ten-match ban by the SFA. However, unlike his time at Kilmarnock, Shiels says he would instead keep himself distant from giving match-day interviews on advice from his doctor and leave this to his assistant manager David Hopkin.[59] Despite making several signings, the club, remained bottom of the league and after a 2–0 loss to Alloa Athletic on 12 April 2014 Morton's relegation was confirmed.[60] Despite being relegated, it was initially believed that Shiels would stay on as the Greenock Morton boss for the next season, and attempt to return Morton to the Championship, similar to his experience at Coleraine.[61][62]

However, Shiels resigned in May 2014 following a 10–2 defeat to Hamilton Academical which ended a poor season and relegation from the Scottish Championship.[2] Immediately after the match, Shiels said in the post-match press conference, that he was embarrassed by the result and extremely disappointed with the performance.[63] The scoreline was criticized by Dundee's manager Paul Hartley, whose team were promoted to the Scottish Premiership, comparing the scoreline to that of matches played in a pub league,[64] while the chief executive, Scot Gardiner, would describe the score line as "laughable" and "ridiculous".[65]

Derry CityEdit

After a spell managing BEC Tero Sasana in Thailand, Shiels was appointed manager of League of Ireland club Derry City in November 2015.[66] He was sacked by Derry City in October 2018, following a 5–0 defeat at the hands of St Patrick's Athletic that left Derry 8th in the league one place above the relegation playoff place.

Northern Ireland womenEdit

Shiels was appointed manager of the Northern Ireland women's national team in May 2019.[67] In April 2021 he led the team to a 4–1 aggregate win over Ukraine in the UEFA Women's Euro 2022 qualifying play-offs, securing Northern Ireland's qualification for the final tournament in England. It was the first time that Northern Ireland's women's team had qualified for a major tournament finals. An emotional Shiels hailed it as the "best ever sporting achievement in the UK".[68]


Tobermore United
Carrick Rangers
Balymena United
Derry City

Managerial statisticsEdit

As of 27 October 2018.
Team Nat From To Record
G W D L Win %
Tobermore United 1992
Carrick Rangers 1992 1994
Coleraine 1994 2000
Moyola Park 1999 2001
Ballymena United 2001 2005
Larne 2005 2006
Northern Ireland U17 2006 2007
Kilmarnock 2011 2013 94 29 30 35 030.85
Greenock Morton 2013 2014 20 4 5 11 020.00
BEC Tero Sasana 2015 2015
Derry City 2015 2018 111 51 26 34 045.95
Total 225 84 61 80 037.33

Personal lifeEdit

Shiels is the father of Northern Ireland international player Dean Shiels.[69] Shiels is also the father-in-law of former St Mirren manager Oran Kearney.[70]

His younger brother Dave was killed during the Troubles in Northern Ireland.[71] A Protestant civilian, he was killed by the Provisional IRA in Maghera at his mobile home on Crew Road. The IRA later apologised for the shooting saying they had mistaken him for a member of the British security forces.[72][73]


  1. ^ a b c d Marshall Gillespie, The Northern Ireland Football Yearbook 1996/97, UTV Books, 1996, p. 59
  2. ^ a b Mitchell, Jonathan (6 May 2014). "Kenny Shiels resigns as Morton manager". Greenock Telegraph. Retrieved 6 May 2014.
  3. ^ Carrick Rangers F.C. – A Brief History Archived 12 December 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Gillespie, The Northern Ireland Football Yearbook, p. 58
  5. ^ Gillespie, The Northern Ireland Football Yearbook, p. 60
  6. ^ Gillespie, The Northern Ireland Football Yearbook, p. 64
  7. ^ Gillespie, The Northern Ireland Football Yearbook, p. 14
  8. ^ a b c d The 1990s – A Decade of Ups and Downs Archived 15 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ Moyola Park Association Football Club – A Potted History Archived 7 April 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ Kilmarnock boss Kenny Shiels eager to shoot down prodigy Ivan Sproule
  11. ^ a b Managerial History Archived 16 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ "Shiels new boss at Ballymena". BBC Sport. 2 January 2001. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
  13. ^ a b c d e f Te Wait Goes On (2000–present) Archived 16 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ "Ballymena dismiss manager Shiels". BBC Sport. 4 May 2005. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
  15. ^ "Shiels named as new Larne manager". BBC Sport. 19 October 2005. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
  16. ^ a b The History of Larne Football Club
  17. ^ IFA won't want me as new boss, says Shiels
  18. ^ a b "Tranmere's Kenny Shiels becomes Kilmarnock assistant". BBC Sport. 30 June 2010. Retrieved 12 April 2011.
  19. ^ McCafferty, Gavin (8 April 2011). "Kenny Shiels wants post-Paatelainen era to begin in earnest". The Scotsman. Retrieved 12 April 2011.
  20. ^ Keevins, Hugh (1 April 2011). "Kilmarnock caretaker Kenny Shiels: Mixu agrees it would be common sense for me to carry on his good work at Rugby Park". The Daily Record. Retrieved 18 September 2015.
  21. ^ Lawrie, Alasdair (4 April 2011). "St Johnstone 0 – 0 Kilmarnock: Eremenko backs Shiels as manager after Kilmarnock seal top-six spot". The Scotsman. Retrieved 21 April 2011.
  22. ^ "Kilmarnock confirm management duo". STV Sport. 15 June 2011. Retrieved 15 June 2011.
  23. ^ "Kilmarnock 1-0 Rangers". BBC Sport. 25 November 2011. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
  24. ^ "Kilmarnock must build on Rangers win, says Kenny Shiels". BBC Sport. 27 November 2011. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
  25. ^ "Kenny Shiels column: I stand by what I said - fans should support their home town tea". Daily Record. 1 December 2011. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
  26. ^ "Kilmarnock complete deals for Dean Shiels and Ben Gordon". BBC Sport. 11 January 2012. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
  27. ^ "Kilmarnock's Kenny Shiels slams Ayr tactics". BBC Sport. 28 January 2012. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
  28. ^ Kilmarnock 1–0 Rangers
  29. ^ "Kenny Shiels dedicates win over Rangers to Kilmarnock fans". BBC Sport. 18 February 2012. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
  30. ^ "Kilmarnock boss hails Cup winners' self-belief". BBC Sport. 18 March 2012. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
  31. ^ "Kilmarnock reaction to League Cup win warms Kenny Shiels". BBC Sport. 22 March 2012. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
  32. ^ "Kenny Shiels struck by mutual joy with Kilmarnock fans". BBC Sport. 22 March 2012. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
  33. ^ "Kenny Shiels waits on new Kilmarnock deal". BBC Sport. 9 May 2012. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
  34. ^ "Kilmarnock extend Shiels contract". 22 May 2012. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
  35. ^ "Kilmarnock manager Kenny Shiels given touchline ban by SFA". BBC Sport. 22 June 2012. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
  36. ^ "Kilmarnock boss Kenny Shiels demands trial by TV after side lose to controversial penalty against Hibs". Daily Record. 16 September 2012. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
  37. ^ "Celtic 0 -2 Kilmarnock". BBC Sport. 27 October 2012.
  38. ^ "Kilmarnock: Kenny Shiels pays tribute to Liam Kelly". BBC Sport. 27 October 2012. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
  39. ^ "Kilmarnock boss Kenny Shiels reports ref Euan Norris after allegedly making sarcastic comment". Daily Record. 4 November 2012. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
  40. ^ "Kilmarnock: Kenny Shiels faces two charges from SFA". BBC Sport. 28 November 2012. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
  41. ^ "SFA should hire Kenny Shiels, says FIFA vice-president". Daily Record. 1 December 2012. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
  42. ^ "Kenny Shiels handed five match touchline ban after disciplinary hearing". SFA. 13 December 2012. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
  43. ^ "Kilmarnock boss Kenny Shiels considers appeal after being hit with five-match ban". Daily Record. 14 December 2012. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
  44. ^ "Neil Lennon: Managers want sanctions compromise". BBC Sport. 15 December 2012. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
  45. ^ "Andrew Dallas 'disappointed' by Kenny Shiels claim". BBC Sport. 15 December 2012. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
  46. ^ "Kilmarnock's Kenny Shiels asked to explain Andrew Dallas remarks". BBC Sport. 18 December 2012. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
  47. ^ "Kenny Shiels has no regrets over Andrew Dallas comments". BBC Sport. 21 December 2013. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
  48. ^ "Kilmarnock boss Kenny Shiels handed four-game ban in row over 'fabricated' evidence". Daily Record. 24 January 2013. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
  49. ^ "Kilmarnock re-sign striker Kris Boyd until end of the season". BBC Sport. 23 February 2013. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
  50. ^ "Kilmarnock to decide manager Kenny Shiels' job within days". BBC Sport. 9 June 2013. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
  51. ^ "SFA hit Kilmarnock boss Kenny Shiels with four-match ban over Celtic comments". Daily Record. 6 June 2013. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
  52. ^ "Kenny Shiels touchline ban lands Kilmarnock a penalty". BBC Sport. 6 June 2013. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
  53. ^ a b "Kilmarnock part company with manager Kenny Shiels". BBC Sport. 11 June 2013. Retrieved 11 June 2013.
  54. ^ "Former Kilmarnock striker Kevin Kyle: Rugby Park club have shown no respect for Kenny Shiels". Daily Record. 10 June 2013. Retrieved 11 June 2013.
  55. ^ "Gary Harkins: Fanatical Kenny Shiels has left a legacy at Kilmarnock". Daily Record. 10 June 2013. Retrieved 11 June 2013.
  56. ^ "Former Kilmarnock boss Kenny Shiels is interested in Swindon manager's job". Sky Sports. 21 July 2013. Retrieved 14 December 2013.
  57. ^ "Kenny Shiels: 'I'm up against Scottish managerial network'". BBC Sport. 2 December 2013. Retrieved 14 December 2013.
  58. ^ "Shiels is new Morton manager". Greenock Telegraph. 13 December 2013. Retrieved 14 December 2013.
  59. ^ "Morton boss Kenny Shiels stops interviews on medical advice". BBC Sport. BBC. 9 January 2014. Retrieved 10 January 2014.
  60. ^ "Alloa Athletic 2 - 0 Morton". Scottish Premiership Website. 12 April 2014. Retrieved 11 May 2014.
  61. ^ "Shiels wants to repeat Northern Irish league glory at Morton". Greenock Telegraph. 25 April 2014. Retrieved 11 May 2014.
  62. ^ "Exclusive: Morton stay fulltime and Shiels will continue as boss". Greenock Telegraph. 30 April 2014. Retrieved 11 May 2014.
  63. ^ "Morton Boss Shiels left embarrassed by the mauling". Greenock Telegraph. 5 May 2014. Retrieved 11 May 2014.
  64. ^ "Paul Hartley hits out at Morton after Dundee clinch promotion". STV Sport. STV. 4 May 2014. Retrieved 11 May 2014.
  65. ^ "Dundee chief Scot Gardiner glad Hamilton's 'pub score' win proved academic". The Courier. DC Thomson. 5 May 2014. Retrieved 11 May 2014.
  66. ^ "Kenny Shiels is named as new manager of Derry City". BBC Sport. BBC. 5 November 2015. Retrieved 5 November 2015.
  67. ^ "Kenny Shiels: Former Kilmarnock boss appointed Northern Ireland senior women's manager". BBC Sport. 16 May 2019. Retrieved 16 May 2019.
  68. ^ "'The UK's best ever sporting achievement' - NI boss Kenny Shiels praises side for reaching Euros". BBC Sport. 13 April 2021. Retrieved 13 April 2021.
  69. ^ Grahame, Ewing Grahame (11 January 2012). "Manager Kenny Shiels glad his son Dean has vision to see future with Kilmarnock". The Telegraph. Retrieved 11 January 2012.
  70. ^ Macintyre, Kenny (6 September 2018). "Oran Kearney 'ready' to take on St Mirren role". BBC Sport. Retrieved 9 September 2018.
  71. ^ "Kenny Shiels: Derry City manager still crazy for football after all these years". BBC Sport. 14 September 2018. Retrieved 23 June 2020.
  72. ^ Sutton Index of Deaths 1990
  73. ^ "Spokane Chronicle - Google News Archive Search".

External linksEdit