Kenny Shiels was manager of Kilmarnock from April 2011 - June 2013. He left his post as head of youth at Tranmere Rovers to become assistant to Mixu Paatelainen in June 2010. When Paatelainen moved on nine months later, Shiels was promoted to the manager's post on an interim basis before being given the post in the summer of 2011, bringing in Jimmy Nicholl as his assistant.
In Shiels' first full season in charge, Kilmarnock finished seventh, and had his biggest achievement when Killie stunned the Hoops with a 1-0 win to claim the 2012 Scottish League Cup. He then led the club to back-to-back victories over Rangers in 2012 and secured the club's first victory at Celtic Park in 57 years in October of that year.
However, a clause in a contract agreed with chairman Michael Johnstone allowed the club to dismiss him if they failed to finish out of the top flight's bottom four, which happened at the end of Season 2012-13, where Killie finished 9th losing 4 of their last 5 SPL matches. Chairman Johnston also cited difficult relationship between Kenny and the Scottish FA which resulted in several touch-line bans.
Jimmy Nicholl resigned his assistant role (to join the Hibs backroom staff) in early June 2013 without being interviewed for the manager's job.
Kenny said upon his departure from Killie:
"I'm heartbroken but that is football. It's hard to take but I will just have to get on with it and try and get another job somewhere. I think I've left Kilmarnock in really good shape. We have got stability and I've built the foundations. But I feel that I've been the victim of falling in love with the football club. I tried to over protect the club and that was my biggest weakness. I just want to apologise to the supporters for that. I treated the club like my family and I love my family. I loved the football club too. I didn't set out to harm the club but as I tried to protect it from what I felt where injustices, I became a victim of that. The chairman was good enough to give me the opportunity to manage the oldest club in Scotland and it was an honour to manage a fantastic club. It's been something I will treasure the rest of my life. I feel in love with it too much and that was my weakness. I want to thank Michael for the opportunity to manage the club because without that opportunity I wouldn't have had some great experiences."