"He's a leader and a quality player" - Colin Miller on Dean Shiels
Dunfermline confirmed what could be a very significant signing today, when Dean Shiels joined the club on a 1 year contract. The former Northern Ireland international, who has 14 caps, left North American Soccer League side FC Edmonton, who he had joined in February. He had moved to Canada after completing a season with Irish team Dundalk, during which the team won the League of Ireland Premier Division. Shiels also played 4 times in the Europa League with Dundalk.
Dean Shiels began his career with Arsenal without making any first team appearances. At the age of 19, he signed for Hibs, and had 5 successful years at Easter Road. In 2009, he moved to Doncaster, before transferring to Kilmarnock in 2011, initially on loan, and then on a permanent basis. During his 1 season with Killie, he was shortlisted alongside 3 other players for the SPFA Players' Player of the Year award, in 2012. He was a key member of the Killie team that won the League Cup that season, defeating Celtic in the final.
His next destination was Rangers, where he remained for 4 seasons, from 2012 to 2016, as the club moved up the divisions of the SPFL. Shiels played 120 games for Rangers but left the club last summer after winning the Championship, but then losing the Scottish Cup Final.
Shiels can play as a striker, winger or as a traditional inside forward, or attacking midfielder. His game is more about providing goals that scoring, although he has a respectable 92 career goals, and will be hoping to hit the 100 mark this season with the Pars. At the age of 32, he brings experience to the squad - Sean Murdoch and Joe Cardle (both 30) and defender Jason Talbot (31) are the only other players in their 30s. Shiels has an impressive pedigree and this signing is a clear statement that the club are seriously aiming for promotion this season.
Former Dunfermline defender Colin Miller, now boss of FC Edmonton, said this when Shiels joined the club in February:
"I've done a lot of research on Dean, and spoke to a lot of people in Scotland about him. Everything came back glowing. He's a leader and a quality player who wants to attack and score goals, so I'm very excited to have Dean here."
Announcing that the club had agreed to release Shiels from his contract last week, Miller had this to say: “When Dean arrived we knew he had genuine quality about him, however his family are in Scotland. That was the sole reason he’s leaving us. He enjoyed the club, the staff and the players, but his family situation needed to be resolved and he had to leave. It’s unfortunate and we wish Dean and his family the best of luck in the future.”
Pars fans will be hoping that the player can bring the type of excitement and quality to the Dunfermline team that Miller spoke about back in February, now that he is settled back in Scotland with his family.