KENNY SHIELS WAITS ON FUTURE
Kenny Shiels saw a glimpse of his ideal future for Kilmarnock when teenager Jude Winchester came off the bench to net a late winner at Dunfermline but the Rugby Park manager is unsure whether he will get the time to realise his vision.
Shiels revealed after his side's 2-1 win at East End Park that he had turned down an approach from an English club in order to stay at Kilmarnock.
But he is waiting for a suitable contract offer from chairman Michael Johnston after asking for a long-term commitment on the club's part.
Winchester, 19, was making his second appearance off the bench and turned home Scotland Under-21 right-back Lewis Toshney's square ball in the 89th minute to seal seventh place in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League.
Another Scotland Under-21 player, Liam Kelly, had struck an equaliser from 20 yards three minutes earlier.
"It's the future," Shiels said. "We have played nine teenagers this season and that's part of my long-term plan for the club.
"It's high risk but we have to keep developing young Scottish players and I want Kilmarnock to be at the forefront of that. We want to push that part of our club on."
Shiels said he could not have looked son Dean in the eye if he had left for England given the midfielder had made a financial sacrifice to end his Doncaster career and sign for Killie.
And Shiels junior believes the Kilmarnock board must show some loyalty in return.
"He has tried to do things the right way from the youth side up," said the midfielder, who is also out of contract in the summer.
"To make sure that structure works, he is going to need to be here to see it through. That takes time.
"I think it should have been sorted by now. The season is over and the players are disappointed it's not sorted now."
Dunfermline manager Jim Jefferies played a number of fringe players and one of those, Paul Willis, gave them a 20th-minute lead.
They looked like holding out against some strong second-half pressure and even had the ball in the net after Kelly's equaliser, but Martin Hardie was ruled offside.
Jefferies now has to trim his squad for next season's Irn-Bru First Division challenge with chairman John Yorkston saying the first-team squad will be cut from 28 to about 22 players, with 18 out of contract.
"It might be less, I might include two or three younger players in that squad," Jefferies said.
"The senior pool will be about 18. That doesn't leave too many spaces.
"We already have so many under contract and you want to bring two or three players in.
"It might be the case that you can't keep the players you want or keep players because you won't get any better for the money they are on.
"We'll still have a decent First Division budget, we just have to cut our cloth accordingly."
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