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St Mirren apology to Hibs' Shiels

Dean Shiels is challenged by St Mirren's Gary Mason on Saturday
Shiels (left) underwent surgery to remove an eye in 2006

St Mirren have apologised to Dean Shiels after the Hibernian midfielder was subjected to taunts on Saturday over the loss of his eye.

And they have appealed to their fans to identify the culprit and say they will consider a ban from their ground.

"St Mirren wish to make an unreserved apology to Hibernian player Dean Shiels in regard to the incident involving one of our fans," said a statement.

"No player should be subjected to that level of personal abuse."

Shiels underwent surgery in 2006 to remove the eye, which was damaged in an accident when he was eight years old.

The Northern Ireland international was restrained by Hibs coach Donald Park as he tried to approach the home support after being substituted during Saturday's goalless draw at St Mirren Park.

We always encourage supporters to weed out anyone who takes part in unacceptable conduct

St Mirren general manager Brian Caldwell

St Mirren say they are working closely with Strathclyde Police and "would urge all supporters to assist the club by identifying the very small minority of supporters who are tarnishing the good name of the club by reporting any unacceptable conduct to the nearest steward or police officer".

General manager Brian Caldwell said that, on this occasion, it was believed that one supporter was involved.

However, he pointed out that season ticket holders had complained about abuse coming from a section of the support during previous games.

"There is an investigation ongoing," he said. "We have been talking to the police and stewards about it.

"We always encourage supporters to weed out anyone who takes part in unacceptable conduct."

Shiels revealed after the game that he has had to learn to cope with the taunts.

"I get it quite a lot at away grounds but I don't mind it actually, it's not a problem and I just have to concentrate on the game," said the 23-year-old.

"It's part and parcel of what has happened and I just have to deal with it.

"Obviously you hear it more when you are coming off. I'm amazed I still get it after this time, but I reacted stupidly."

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see also
St Mirren 0-0 Hibernian
01 Nov 08 |  Scottish Premier

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