Killie boss was offered Star hotseat

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NEWTONGRANGE STAR couldn’t afford Kenny Shiels when he was interviewed for the manager’s job at New Victoria Park before becoming a successful SPL boss.

The Irishman, pictured, who has guided Kilmarnock to a League Cup Final appearance against Celtic, applied for the post with the Midlothian club five years ago.

He’d had spells in charge of Coleraine, Ballymena and Larne and was keen to secure a job in Scotland.

“I paid my own way to come over and speak to Newtongrange about the vacant manager’s job,” recalled Shiels this week.

“I knew it was an ambitious Junior club and I was just anxious to get a foothold in the Scottish game.

“Newtongrange were prepared to give me the job. Ultimately, the money side of it just wasn’t going to work for me. But I was grateful for the interview.”

Graeme Armstrong got the job instead and duly steered Newtongrange into the Super League, but committee member John Morgan admitted Shiels had been an impressive candidate.

“He had a massive CV and if he’d been local then it might have been a different story,” said Morgan. “But he was living in Ireland at the time so it was never going to work financially. ‘Louis’ did an excellent job for us, but it has been pleasing to see Kenny, who I think was also interviewed by Bo’ness around the same time, be successful at Kilmarnock.”

Star are due to be in Premier Division action tomorrow at Ballingry, where former Linlithgow boss Dave Baikie has just taken over as the new manager.

Penicuik are due to entertain Armadale while Broxburn, held at home by Downfield last weekend, will be aiming to pick up full points when they host Broughty Athletic.