How Killie won the League Cup

A dramatic 1-0 victory over Celtic in Sunday’s final secured Kilmarnock’s first ever League Cup trophy.  Their hero was Belgian striker Dieter van Tornhout, who scored his first goal for the club after coming on as a substitute.  The success came at the sixth time of asking – the Rugby Park side had finished as runners-up in the League Cup on 5 occasions, losing out to Dundee (52/53), Rangers (60/61), Hearts (62/63), Celtic (00/01) and Hibs (06/07).  Full-back turned midfielder Garry Hay played in the two most recent of those defeats, and his appearance on Saturday made him the first player to appear in 3 League Cup finals for Killie.

Killie are only the 9th club to have won all three major trophies (League, Scottish Cup and League Cup), joining Aberdeen, Celtic, Dundee, Dundee United, Hearts, Hibs, Motherwell and Rangers.  They are only the second non-city club to achieve this feat, after Motherwell.  Kenny Shiels’ side achieved their success without conceding a single goal, following in the footsteps of Aberdeen (85/86) and Celtic (97/98 & 99/00).

Killie used 25 players in their four matches, and Paul Heffernan and Dean Shiels were the only ones to play the full 390 minutes of the campaign. In addition to that duo, James Fowler, Gary Harkins and Liam Kelly started all 4 matches.  Garry Hay was the only other player to appear in every game – he was a half-time sub in the first two matches, but started the semi-final and final.

Players from 13 different nations made appearances for Killie during the campaign, with Scotland, Northern Ireland, England, Ireland, Italy, France, Netherlands, Czech Republic, Finland, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain and Belgium represented at some point.

Sunday’s matchwinner Dieter van Tornhout actually spent less time on the pitch than any other player during the cup run, but he used his 18 minutes to great effect.  In fact, the next lowest player in terms of minutes played, Ben Hutchinson, also managed to score, netting against Queen of the South in Round 3.  That would prove to be his only goal for the club – he left for Mansfield in January.

The image at the top of the post gives a graphical summary of each game on the route to the final.  The white lines indicate the time which a player spent on the pitch, with yellow cards and goals identified with relevant images.  The number of minutes played by each player is shown in the table on the right.

About SPLstats
Providing statistics and trivia about Scottish football. Main focus is the SPL, but all Scottish football will be covered. Not affiliated to the SPL.

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