Nov 16 2012 by Lizzie Smith, Kilmarnock Standard
Kilmarnock boss Kenny Shiels revealed he is proud so many of his players are gaining international recognition.
Midfielder Liam Kelly received his first senior Scotland squad call-up for the friendly in Luxembourg on Wednesday night.
The 22-year-old, included by national interim boss Billy Stark after nine players called off, joined Killie No1 Cammy Bell in the Scotland squad.
Shiels said of Kelly, who was a regular in the Scotland Under-21 set-up: “Liam’s been outstanding this season. It’s great for him. He is very dedicated and professional.
“I think he could become established in the Scotland senior squad.”
Killie youngsters Adam Hodge and Greg Kiltie have been called up for the Scotland Under-16’s Sky Sports Victory Shield match against England on Thursday, November 29.
And defender Mark O’Hara has been picked for a national Under-18s training camp later this month.
Shiels said: “I think we’ve broken all records because we’ve had players called at every level, Under-16s, 17s, 18s, 19s, 21s and now senior, this season. It’s fantastic and pleases me so much.”
Shiels is praying Kelly and Bell return from international duty injury free as Killie face Dundee United in the Friday night fixture and help his side build on last weekend’s comfortable 3-0 home win over Ross County.
That match saw the return of injured defender Jeroen Tesselaar (hamstring), midfielder James Fowler (calf) and most notably striker Paul Heffernan (collarbone), who fired in two goals late on in his first start of the SPL season.
Gary Harkins also got his name on the scoresheet with a super strike in his first start in three weeks.
Shiels said: “I played experience but we can’t always play our strongest team and sacrifice our youth.”
Fans are relishing a striking partnership of Sheridan and Heffernan.
Shiels agreed: “The movement of the front two pleased me.”
The gaffer is also happy to have midfielders Garry Hay and Danny Racchi returning to fitness following knee operations.
Hay played in the first half of Killie Under-20s game at Rugby Park on Tuesday night.
Racchi, who has been out for a month, is back in light training.
Shiels revealed this week that he had been chasing Celtic’s scoring sensation Tony Watt when he played at Airdrie.
The 18-year-old scored the second goal in the Parkhead side’s historic 2-1 win over Barcelona in the Champions League last Thursday night.