It was without a doubt one of the days where following Killie becomes worth it. We don’t have reason to go absolutely banana’s watching Killie on too many occasions, but this was certainly one of them. The League Cup Final of 2012 was the highlight of my life so far, and so I thought since it’s been exactly 5 years since that glorious day, I would revisit the team that won us the cup and see where they are now.

CAMMY BELL

Our hero of the day by a long way, Cammy made several outstanding saves to keep us in the game, from Scott Brown and Gary Hooper among others. Just a week after this performance, Bell was linked with a move to West Ham United, however this never materialised into anything concrete. Despite an injury at the beginning of the 2012/2013 season, he still played 30 games. In the summer of 2013 the fears of all Killie fans finally came true, Bell moved to Rangers, then in the Scottish League 1. It was the ultimate betrayal, but it isn’t matter too much, as we had world class Craig Samson to replace him, a man who would still walk even if his house was on fire. Bell had two good seasons at Rangers, before a year long injury forced him out of Mark ‘magic hat’ Warburton’s plans. Bell moved on from Rangers in 2016, signing for Championship side Dundee United. He has been their first choice keeper this season, and became an internet sensation when he saves three penalties in one game. Watch it here:

GARY HAY

Hooky!!!!!! Hookyyyyyyyyyyy!!!!!!!!!! Everyone’s favourite Killie left back., Hooky made over 300 appearances for the club between 1999 and 2013. He played an integral part of the famous goal in 2012, starting off the move that ended with… well, we all know how it ended. Much to the disappointment of most Killie fans, Gary was released by the club in 2013 and signed for Airdrie. However, it never really worked out there as he only played 4 games, before announcing his retirement. Coincidentally, his last game as a footballer was against Ayr United. Hooky now has a role at the SFA, but he will always be remembered as one of the greatest Killie players of all time.

BEN GORDON

A case could be made that Ben is one of the best right backs we have ever had, or ever had on loan. He first came to us in August 2010, arriving from Chelsea’s reserve team, where he was a regular starter. In this first season for us, he played 18 times, scoring one goal. At the end of the season, he moved back down to England where he had brief loan spells with Peterborough and Scunthorpe, before coming back up to Rugby Park for the second time. He arrived in January 2012, and was the first choice right back when he arrived. In the cup final, it was his pass with the outside of the boot to play in Lee Johnston for his cross into the box. In that half season he made 17 appearances, bringing his total for the team up to 35. He returned to Chelsea at the end of the season and has been bouncing around England ever since, apart from a season at Ross County where he played 28 games. He currently plays for National League North side Boston United F.C. This seems like a team below his level of skill, but no matter where he is playing, we will always be grateful to him for that one pass in March 2012.

MICHAEL NELSON

Nicknamed ‘The Admiral’, Nelson is a rock of a defender and was the heart of our defence when he played for Killie. Nelson arrived from Scunthorpe United in January 2012 on a two and a half year deal. He was already a very experienced defender, having played over 250 games for Hartlepool United. He made his debut in a draw with Dunfermline on 4 February. In the cup final, Nelson stood resolute against the attacking prowess of Anthony Stokes and Gary Hooper. It was him who slid in on Anthony Stokes in the dying moments of the game, prompting calls for a penalty. However, replays showed that Nelson touched neither the man or the ball. He scored his first goal for the club in a 4-3 victory against Inverness. He retained his first team place the next season until he signed for Bradford City in January 2013 to be closer to his family. All in all, he played 36 games for the club, scoring twice.

MAHAMADOU SISSOKO

The definition of a ‘bombscare’ defender, Momo quickly became a fans favourite when he arrived due to his less than cautious defending and his wild mazy strolls up the park. He joined us in the summer of 2010 on loan from Italian club Udinese. He played his first game in a friendly victory over Bideford. He made his first premiership start in a loss to Motherwell. At the end of the season, the club wanted to sign him on a permanent basis but could not afford him. However, he was allowed to extend his loan for another year.

He scored one of the two goals against East Fife in the quarter final of the cup run. He played at centre back in the final, and certainly had some memorable moments during the 90 minutes. Inside the first ten minutes, he tried to play a pass across the back, only for Gary Hooper to intercept and bare down on Cammy Bell. However, the big man stood up strong and made a vital stop. After this, Momo was solid all game and didn’t give Hooper or Stokes a sniff of the goal. He performed well for the rest of the season and ended his two season loan at the club with 54 appearances and two goals. At the end of the season, he was released by Udinese and decided to sign for us on a permanent basis. That season, the big man played for us 22 times, before signing at the end of the season for Greek side Veria, where he currently resides in his second spell at the club. Even though we may make jokes about him, about what a bombscare he was at times, it cannot be denied that he was actually a very good defender in his prime.

LIAM KELLY

One of the most consistent midfielders over the past few years, the 27 year old quickly became a fans favourite at Rugby Park. Kelly started his career at MK Dons, however after failing to break into the first team, he signed for us in 2010. He made his first start in a remarkable 4-4 draw with Dundee United. Only a few days later, he scored his first goal in a 3-0 Scottish Cup triumph over Inverness. Over the course of four years, Kelly pulled on the Killie jersey exactly 100 times. Although known for his great work rate and range of passing, he ended up notching 15 goals for us. During his spell at the club, he managed to make an appearance for the Scottish national side, coming on as a substitute for Charlie Mulgrew in a 2-1 friendly win over Luxembourg. In the final, Liam was instrumental in keeping Celtic at bay, and certainly deserved his place in Killie history.

Unfortunately due to injury, he played very little of the 2013-14 season and that summer signed with Oldham Athletic, who were managed by fellow cup winner Lee Johnson. Here, he was immediately made captain and went on to make 78 appearances for them. He then signed for Layton Orient in 2016, in a deal thought to be around £200,000. However, in early February of this year, Kelly was given a six match ban for pushing a ball boy. It has been revealed in the past few weeks that Orient may end up having to fold, so maybe we could get our cup winner back. Who knows?

JAMES FOWLER

Fowler, along with Gary Hay, is definitely in the ‘legend’ category at Killie. He joined the club as a young boy, and worked his way through the youth set up. He made his first appearance in 1997, and since then has gone on to play a staggering 409 appearances for the club. He played in lots of different positions around the pitch, but spent most of the time at right back. Fowler actually holds the record for most appearances ever in the now defunct SPL. In that time, he ended up scoring 10 goals, the most memorable of which is his lob over Fraser Forster in that infamous 3-3 draw with Celtic at Rugby Park. In the final, Fowler was absolutely everywhere, and he pulled out his best ever performance just for the final. He was rewarded for his services with a testimonial in August 2012 against Sheffield Wednesday.

In January 2014, James decided to call time on his Killie career and signed for Cowdenbeath on a one month loan. He played 10 games for them before joining Queen of the South as a player/coach in the summer. He played 8 games for them before being appointed manager after Jim McIntyre left for Ross County. He left QOTS in April 2016 with a 40% win percentage. Fowler is currently a coach at StMirren and was last year inducted into the Killie Hall of Fame, an honour which is no less than he deserves.

DEAN SHIELS

Certainly the most controversial figure from the cup-winning side, Dean was the son of the legend that is Kenny Shiels. Shiels started his career at Hibs, where he played 117 games for them. While at Hibs, he had his right eye removed, which had been blind after a childhood accident. Although he scored 24 goals in this time, he didn’t really make himself a regular in his four years there. He signed for Doncaster Rovers in the winter of 2009, in what was thought to be a deal worth £50,000. He spent three years at Doncaster, where he scored 10 goals in 83 appearances. He was loaned out to us in the summer of 2011 for six months. He made his first appearance in a draw with Motherwell, before scoring his first goal in a win over Hearts.

He signed for us permanently in January 2012, and that month scored the only goal in injury time in the semi final against Ayr, his low show finally managing to get the better of Kevin Cuthbert. In early February, he scored at Ibrox in our win during the Rangers ‘We Don’t Do Walking Away’ day. In the final, he was unlucky with a couple of efforts and really gave us some attacking prowess. He refused a new contract at the end of the season, having played a total of 25 games, and he was one of the numerous who decided to swap top flight football for the third division with Rangers. He spent four years at Rangers, where his latter years were hampered by injury, but he still managed to rack up 90 appearances for them, scoring 19 goals. Since he was released by Rangers, he seems to have gone backwards in his career, first playing for Dundalk in Ireland, and now FC Edmonton in Canada.

Shiels is certainly a divisive figure, some hate him, some love him. But one thing is for sure, he was a huge reason for our cup success.

LEE JOHNSON

Lee has certainly had an interesting football career to date. He first signed for Brighton, and then Brentford, however he never actually played a game for either club. He then joined Yeovil in 2001, who were managed by his dad Gary. Here he helped them to two promotions, winning the player of the year award three times, and making 192 appearances for them. He signed for Hearts in January 2006 for £50,000, but was only there for six months before leaving. As his father was now manager of Bristol City, he signed for them and made 174 appearances for them. He almost helped them to the Premier League, but they lost in the play-off final to Hull City.

He spent some time on loan at Derby as well as Chesterfield before he finally signed for us in February 2012 on a two and a half year deal. In the final, he was the one that supplied the inch perfect cross to DVT, so he will always be remembered fondly for that. He didn’t stay with us long, leaving in January 2013, having played 20 games.

We were to be his last club as a footballer, as he went into management soon after. His first gig was at Oldham, where he became the youngest manager in the football league at the age of just 31. He managed to keep them in the league that season, and the following season led them to a top half finish in League One. His great win record and good quality football as a manager led to him being snapped up by Barnsley. However, this didn’t really work out and he left just a year later for Bristol City, where he currently resides.

GARY HARKINS

This is certainly a man who has had a wide and varied career. An attacking central midfielder, he’s known for his skills and range of passing, as well as his bald head. He started off at Blackburn but never actually played any first team games there, instead being loaned out to Huddersfield, Bury and Blackpool. He had a short spell at Grimsby after leaving Blackpool, however he never really got things going there. He first started his career in Scotland with Partick Thistle in 2007, and has been here ever since. He played 71 games for Partick, before moving to fellow first division side Dundee, where he made a similar number of appearances.

He joined us in the summer of 2011, and scored his first goal in the cup win over Queen of the South, where he scored after just a minute and a half. In the cup final, he controlled the middle of the park, until he was taken off in the 73rd minute for that man of the hour, DVT. For the rest of the season, he struggled with injury, and moved back to Dundee in the summer. He played a total of 46 games for us, scoring three goals. Since then, he has played for StMirren, Dundee for a third time and now resides at our rivals Ayr United.

PAUL HEFFERNAN

Paul has had a very successful career, playing with a number of different clubs. He started at Notts County in 1999, and made 100 appearances in four seasons there. He then played for a number of different English clubs including Bristol City, Doncaster and Sheffield Wednesday. He signed for us in 2011, and scored his first goals in a win over Hibs at Rugby Park. In the Queen of the South cup game, he scored a hat-trick. He led the line in the final, but just couldn’t find a goal that would make him a legend. In his first season, he played 36 times scoring 15 goals. During that season, StMirren manager Danny Lennon went as far as to compare Heffernan to Wayne Rooney. What do you think?

The next season, he was plagued by injury  and left the club in the summer, having scored 20 goals in 56 appearances. Since then, he has floated around some other Scottish clubs, including Hibs and Dundee, but has not really found a permanent home. He last played for Dumbarton, but left at the end of his contract and he has yet to find another club.

DIETER VAN TORNHOUT

Big Dieter, our hero of the day. He first started his career at Club Brugge in his native Belgium, where he played in the UEFA Cup and Champions League. He floated around Belgium for a few years before landing in Kilmarnock, of all places. The final actually coincide with his 27th birthday, and he described the day as “an incredible feeling”. He scored his only league goal for the club in a loss at StMirren a few weeks after the final. In the summer of 2012, Dieter was allowed to leave the club after family illness and he returned to Belgium. He played a total of 12 games for us, scoring twice. Since then, he has played for Antwerp, Roeselare, and currently plays for Oudenaarde (nope, me neither).

So that’s where all of our heroes are now. No matter what they’ve done since they played in that game, they will always have a special place in our hearts. KTID

 

Advertisements