The Rugby Park side will clinch seventh spot tonight if they defeat St Mirren in Ayrshire and Aberdeen lose at home to Hibernian.
Having had to rebuild his squad following a host of key departures last summer, the Northern Irish manager is revelling in surpassing expectations after winning the Scottish Communities League Cup.
"It would be beyond all expectations [seventh place]," Shiels said. "I came upon the sack race yesterday . . . I was favourite, Terry Butcher was second favourite to be sacked first. Eighteen journalists had us down for relegation. So it's a fantastic achievement to win a trophy, get into seventh and even to go out of the Scottish Cup [against Hibs]. We've had a great season."
When asked if he thrives on proving critics wrong, Shiels said: "I do, not to prove people wrong, but more to prove myself right."
The man hoping to throw a spanner in Kilmarnock's works, meanwhile, is urging his players for one last push this season. Victory tonight will take Danny Lennon's side to within a point of their hosts and the St Mirren manager emphasised the importance of wins in their last three games before the summer holidays.
"I don't want them to have any regrets, thinking that maybe we could have climbed one place higher," he said. "After beating Hibs, we want back-to-back wins. We want seventh spot."