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Falkirk Issue Apology After Dunfermline's Dean Shiels Taunted with Fake Eyeballs

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistJanuary 3, 2018

Dundalk's Northern Irish midfielder Dean Shiels reacts at the end of the UEFA Europa League group D football match between Dundalk and AZ Alkmaar at the Tallaght Stadium in Dublin, Ireland, on November 24, 2016. / AFP / Paul FAITH        (Photo credit should read PAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images)
PAUL FAITH/Getty Images

Falkirk have issued an official apology to Dunfermline player Dean Shiels after their supporters taunted the 32-year-old by throwing fake eyeballs onto the pitch on Tuesday.

As noted by BBC Sport, the midfielder was abused by sections of Falkirk's travelling support during the Championship match, which the hosts won 2-0. Shiels had surgery to remove an eye in 2006 after it was damaged in a domestic accident when he was eight years old.

The Bairns issued the following statement on Twitter:

Falkirk FC @falkirkbairns

https://t.co/gCHwAvFzIz

The Daily Record Sport Twitter account provided an image of the fake eyeballs thrown onto the field:

Daily Record Sport @Record_Sport

Falkirk fans in sickening Dean Shiels taunt as they throw fake eyes onto pitch during Dunfermline clash https://t.co/64kvNlcwr3 https://t.co/9mxfPY65wL

Falkirk players Joe McKee and Kevin O'Hara were suspended in November after they were found to have taunted Shiels about his disability. The Dunfermline man was sent off in the same game for a tackle on McKee.

After being targeted by Falkirk supporters on Tuesday, Dunfermline boss Allan Johnston praised Shiels for keeping composed.

"You never like to hear stuff like that," he told the club's website (h/t The Courier). "It's poor. It's great discipline he showed. The whole team showed that. He has had a lot to deal with, but I think the whole club have. I think we have dealt with it professionally, but you just have to move on."

Sky Sports News' Keith Downie was disgusted at the news, as was former Dunfermline and Falkirk player Tam McManus:

Keith Downie @SkySports_Keith

What is wrong with these people?! Nothing but respect for Dean Shiels who’s probably had to work harder than anyone to make it in the game. https://t.co/lbMwq9iNbu

Shiels has faced abuse before from fans due to his condition, with St Mirren issuing an apology after their supporters taunted the then-Hibernian man in 2008.

The midfielder is a veteran of the Scottish game, having enjoyed successful spells with Hibs and Rangers; he helped the latter win the Championship and earn promotion back to the top flight in 2016.

Shiels has also represented Northern Ireland on 14 occasions, netting one goal.

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