Dunfermline manager Allan Johnston hails Dean Shiels after Falkirk fan taunts

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Dunfermline manager Allan Johnston hailed Dean Shiels’ discipline after Falkirk fans threw fake eyes towards the midfielder.

Shiels was already the centre of attention in the Ladbrokes Championship clash at East End Park with Falkirk still missing the suspended Joe McKee and Kevin O’Hara after the pair were handed a combined 12-match ban by the Scottish Football Association after being found guilty of taunting Shiels over the loss of an eye.

But the former Rangers and Hibernian player had to deal with chants from visiting fans as well as distasteful missiles as his team won 2-0 in the derby clash in front of 7,140 fans.

In a clip on Dunfermline’s official website, Johnston said: “You never like to hear stuff like that. It’s poor. And that’s why guys like Dean Shiels – it’s great discipline he showed. The whole team showed that.

“That’s why it was important to get the win as well, when stuff like that is going on in the background. Saying that, I think a lot of them left early so they probably didn’t see too much.”

Shiels underwent surgery in 2006 after losing sight in one eye in a domestic accident when he was eight years old.

The 32-year-old was sent off for a stoppage-time challenge on McKee during the teams’ Irn-Bru Cup clash on October 7, which sparked the two suspensions. The Pars then had two men sent off during a league draw weeks later – Kallum Higginbotham after a challenge on McKee and Declan McManus for pushing Aaron Muirhead after the defender had fouled Shiels.

There were five bookings but no red cards in the latest meeting and Johnston congratulated Shiels on his composure after the game.

“He has had a lot to deal with, but I think the whole club have,” Johnston said. “I think we have dealt with it professionally but you just have to move on. It’s unacceptable in this day and age.

“The most important thing was getting the win, especially against Falkirk when you see the rivalry.”

Falkirk later condemned the actions of some of their supporters.

A club statement read: “Falkirk FC apologises unreservedly to Dean Shiels and Dunfermline Athletic FC for the abhorrent behaviour of a small number of individuals at this afternoon’s Ladbrokes Championship match.

“The club wholeheartedly condemns the abuse witnessed towards Dean Shiels in the strongest terms and will be working closely with Dunfermline Athletic FC to identify those responsible.

“Abuse towards anyone with a disability is simply unacceptable and the fact this took place within a sporting context with rivalries at play is no excuse. This needs to stop now.

“Disability Awareness Training is already being delivered to all staff and players at Falkirk FC and we take our commitment to equality seriously.

“We will look to take action against anyone identified from today’s game and will not allow this disgraceful behaviour to be repeated.”

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