'This was premeditated' - Derry City manager slams louts for taunting son Dean Shiels over eye loss
Derry City manager Kenny Shiels has hit out at the horrific abuse his son has endured after fake eyeballs were thrown onto the pitch to mock the player, who lost an eye in an accident.
Dean Shiels from Magherafelt, who plays for Dunfermline, had one eye removed in 2006 after he lost his sight in it during a domestic accident when he was eight.
The former Rangers and Northern Ireland player was subjected to chants from visiting Falkirk fans as his team won 2-0 in the derby clash at East End park on Tuesday.
Falkirk apologised after some fans also threw fake eyes at the player during Tuesday’s Championship game.
The club has also vowed to identify those responsible.
Two Falkirk players, Joe McKee and Kevin O’Hara, have already been handed a combined 12 match ban by the Scottish FA after being found guilty of taunting the player in an October Challenge Cup game.
“He played in the Edinburgh derby and got it there, he got it at St Mirren — he gets it every week,” Kenny Shiels said.
“But this was premeditated. Someone ... [has gone to buy] eyeballs in a shop.”
The father praised his son for his footballing achievements in the face of adversity.
“Falkirk played Inverness in a game three weeks ago, and Dean had no association with that match, and they were singing songs about him at that match as well,” Mr Shiels told the BBC.
“And it’s not just a few [supporters]. It’s not nice for a boy that’s mapped out a career in professional football, with his handicap is a fantastic achievement, I feel.
“When the doctor tells him, at the age of 11, that he should be taking up recreational sport as opposed to professional football because they knew that was his dream.
“So, achieving that under those circumstances is hard enough but then you’ve got the other stuff as well. It’s hard for him.
“But he’s a strong boy and he’ll get through it okay.”