Shiels hails Heffernan hat-trick

Kilmarnock manager Kenny Shiels hailed the impact of Paul Heffernan after the in-form striker bagged a hat-trick to help knock Queen of the South out of the Scottish Communities League Cup.

The 29-year-old’s goals ran the gamut from an instinctive diving header to a classy lob, with a powerhouse close-range volley thrown in for good measure. The home side’s other goals came from Gary Harkins and Ben Hutchinson.

Such a display of clinical finishing is indicative of the impact Heffernan has had since his summer arrival at Rugby Park, and his evident confidence, the former Sheffield Wednesday striker scoring eight goals in six games.

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And Shiels is delighted to have found a striker to fill the void left by Connor Sammon’s January move to Wigan.

“Paul’s hat-trick was excellent and we are very pleased for him. The third goal was a lovely finish as he lobbed the keeper, he is a terrific instinctive finisher.

“Ever since I’ve been at this club I’ve seen the players improving. Even players in their 30s are getting better – Garry Hay, James Fowler, Manuel Pascali. These players are improving.”