Scottish Premier League

Shiels trails Samson

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Wed, 15 May 2013 20:03:00

Stiliyan Petrov has expressed his gratitude to everyone who has supported him in his battle with acute leukaemia after announcing details of a charity match.

Petrov announced his retirement last week, having not played for Aston Villa since being diagnosed with the disease in March 2012.

The fans have continued to remember him and rise to applaud the Bulgarian in the 19th minute of each match, in reference to his shirt number.

"The feeling is incredible," Petrov told Sky Sports. "I went through something hard but the support from the football family and around the world has been just magnificent."

Petrov's experience has made him want to help others and there will be a game in Sofia on May 26th between old Aston Villa stars and Bulgarian legends, including Hristo Stoichkov.

The match will raise money for the 'Support Stan' campaign, which helps children with leukaemia.

Petrov added: "I am an adult and am stronger and I can go through that, but to see a kid go through something like that, I can't imagine. It causes something horrible.

"To raise money and help these kids will be great."

Villa have had a difficult season without Petrov but Wigan Athletic's defeat at Arsenal on Tuesday ensured their Premier League survival.

"I wasn't really worried," said Petrov. "I believe in these boys. I have seen them in training and have seen the way the manager works.

"The last couple of months have been very good and I think they deserve to be in the Premier League."

The 19-year-old made 10 appearances for the club and came into the first team for the first time this season for the Scottish Communities League Cup semi-final against Inverness.

Mullen looked set to play in the final but his season was ended by a broken foot suffered the previous week against Hibernian.

He wrote on his Twitter account tonight: "Not being offered a contract for next season at hearts.

"Enjoyed being at the club since I was 12 but annoyed the way last few months ended with the injury.

"Absolute gutted at leaving some of the boys gona miss them a lot."

Hearts have previously confirmed that Danny Grainger, Darren Barr, Gordon Smith and Denis Prychynenko would not be offered new contracts, while club captain Marius Zaliukas is also set to move on as the club look to cut costs again.

Motherwell last week opened negotiations with the Scotland squad goalkeeper and St Mirren boss Danny Lennon admitted he looked likely to move on.

But the 29-year-old's destination is unclear with Shiels setting his sights on a deal to bring in the former Ayr player, who began his career at Rugby Park but only made one first-team appearance.

Shiels told BBC Radio Scotland: "The agent has spoken to my chairman as far as I know.

"Craig Samson is a player we would really like to get here because he's a Kilmarnock boy, but besides that he's a really good goalkeeper."

Shiels has already secured Inverness keeper Antonio Reguero on a pre-contract agreement but has not finished his search for experienced shot-stoppers.

Kilmarnock are set to lose first-choice goalkeeper Cammy Bell, who is expected to join Rangers. His previous number two, Kyle Lethern, left the club last month while Anssi Jaakkola's contract expires in the summer.

Shiels added: "We need another goalkeeper, we need two vying for the one position. We have one at the moment and we've got a kid coming in from Ireland.

"Of course I'm interested (in Samson) and I'm also interested in other goalkeepers whose contracts are up."

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