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Dublin: 18 °C Saturday 15 August, 2020

'The most embarrassing game I’ve ever been involved in' - Irish midfielder on Kilmarnock's European exit

Killie captain Gary Dicker believes the players only have themselves to blame after losing out to Welsh side Connah’s Quay Nomads last night.

Kilmarnock skipper Gary Dicker.
Kilmarnock skipper Gary Dicker.
Image: PA Archive/PA Images

DUBLINER GARY DICKER admitted Kilmarnock’s shock exit from the Europa League first qualifying round last night was “the most embarrassing game” he has ever been a part of. 

Having earned a 2-1 win over Welsh side Connah’s Quay Nomads away from home in last week’s first leg, the Scottish Premiership club crashed out of the tie — suffering a 2-0 loss. 

Their semi-professional opponents took the lead early in the second half through Ryan Wignall. Killie then had Stuart Findlay sent off after conceding a penalty on 79 minutes, with Callum Morris scoring the decisive goal from the spot. 

Although the away team saw Wignall red-carded before the final whistle, the Welsh Premier League runners-up held on to progress. 

“I’m embarrassed,” Killie captain Dicker told the club. “We got a good crowd and we threw away two years of hard work to get a chance to play in Europe to produce that. It was a million miles off it.

We’ll take the criticism because we’re out there doing it. We’re big enough to take the credit when it is going well so we’ll accept what comes our way.

“We didn’t control the game. We had possession but we gave too many chances away, we were too open. We got away with it last week and it covered up the cracks when we won 2-1. It is so hard to take and we’ve only ourselves to blame.”

Kilmarnock v Connah's Quay Nomads - UEFA Europa League - First Qualifying Round - Second Leg - Rugby Park The Connah's Quay Nomads players celebrate scoring last night. Source: Jeff Holmes

Under Steve Clarke, Kilmarnock enjoyed an excellent year domestically — finishing third behind Celtic and Rangers to earn their place in Europe. 

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However, their manager has since left to take over the Scotland international job, with Italian coach Angelo Alessio brought in to replace him.  

This defeat is an early setback for Antonio Conte’s former assistant, and Dicker felt the need to apologise to supporters. Fellow Dubliner Alan Power also played 90 minutes for Killie on the night. 

“Hard work is what got us here,” Dicker added. “The minute we think we are better than that then we are in trouble. We got where we were by doing the ugly things well and being hard to beat.

I can’t even explain that because it’s the most embarrassing game I’ve ever been involved in.

“I can only apologise to the fans because they turned up in their numbers and they expect better and that’s not good enough.”

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Ben Blake

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