More Scottish Cup misery occurred for Martin Canning’s Accies side on Saturday,as they were defeated by St Johnstone, after two terrible errors from Ryan Fulton, gifted Saints a place in the fifth round. Hamilton quite brutally have a horrible record in cup competitions, losing most years in the first round. This brings back horrible memories of Annan in 2015, which was probably one of the most embarrassing days in the clubs history, when we were hammered 4-1 by the League 2 side. In 2016 The Accies were one more win away from a trip to Hampden, when they beat Kilmarnock with a last minute penalty at Rugby Park, before a trip to East End Park to face Dunfermline, ended up a draw. A replay took place a few days later where goalkeeper Remi Matthews was the hero, with Accies wining 3-0 on penalty kicks. The run finished at Ibrox, where we were beaten 6-0, but it was a controversial game, as both Wes Foderingham and Joe Garner should have been sent off for the home side. Last year it was a 2-0 defeat against local rivals Motherwell, after Scott McMann scored a awful own goal after four minutes, before a penalty from Craig Tanner sent the home side into the next round.
This year we faced St Johnstone, in what was quite a boring away day to be honest. I love the Scottish Cup and love an away day, so I was bitterly disappointed to draw someone in the same league as us. Also, Accies have a bad record in Perth, where we had another day to forget in November, when we lost 4-0. The Lanarkshire side came into Saturdays game in a poor run of form winning just one of their last seven matches unlike the home side, who have only lost twice since October.
Every Accies fan knew that transfer business had to be done in January, and after two weeks most fans were getting very impatient and restless with the club, but two signings in a week has brought some delight to the fans. A striker was the priority and they got their man, when Steve Davies signed from Blackpool last Tuesday. This was followed by the surprise return of Accies legend, Tony Andreu, who played a crucial role in getting us promoted back to the Scottish Premiership back in 2014. The Frenchman was then taken by former manager, Alex Neil at Norwich, netting Accies one million pounds. This more than certinely brought some excitement back to the fans.
Saints boss, Tommy Wright named the exact same starting 11 that was victorious at Dens Park in their last match in December, lining up with a 4-4-2.
Accies made three changes from the derby day defeat against Motherwell with Steve Davies making his debut and Tony Andreu making his second debut for the club, replacing Scott Martin and James Keating’s. Alex Gogic played in midfield, making his first start in a long time after a serious ACL injury.
Referee, John Beaton got the game underway in Perth, with the Accies fans in full voice welcoming the return of Tony Andreu. Unfortunately they were silenced within 45 seconds as the Saints took the lead. A free-kick was awarded on the right-hand side, which was delivered in by Liam Craig and missed by Ryan Fulton, allowing Jason Kerr to loop a header into the back of the net. It was an absolute shocker from Fulton, who seemed to just miss the ball completely. As most would suspect, the home side began to take control, hoping to kill the tie early days. St Johnstone could have easily doubled their lead after 10 minutes when some nice link-up play between Tony Watt and Chris Kane allowed Watt to have a free strike at goal in the penalty box. Luckily to Hamilton’s relief, his effort was tame and easily gathered.
The visitors did begin to build a little momentum, going close through a Steven Davies header, and also when a quick free-kick by Lenny Sowah was headed wide of the target from Aaron McGowan.
All the Accies confidence was shattered minutes later as the Perthshire side scored their second, and one again it was another howler from Fulton. Ross Callachan found himself in achres of space on the edge of the box, before being urged to shoot by the crowd. He obliged to the shout and his effort was spilled straight into the path of Watt, who had the easiest of tap-in’s to make it St Johnstone 2-0 Hamilton. Accies fans were absolutely furious with their side and its not hard to see why. Far to many individual errors each week are costing them points. However, it was Canning who was receiving the verbal abuse, which in my opinion was harsh.
Hamilton had their first shot on target after 28 minutes, when Dougie Imrie’s effort was easily saved by Zander Clark. It was clear to see that Ryan Fulton was struggling after his two mistakes, which also lead to a third, when he came sliding of his box and handling the ball. I have seen goalkeepers sent off for similar incidents, but it was only a free-kick awarded.
The final action of the first half actually was in the away end, when all the verbal abuse towards the dug-out got all to much for one supporter, who made his way down towards the exit, before muttering something to the fans signing the chants, which clearly boiled their blood. This lead to the man leaving the stadium. After speaking to some other fans at half-time, it was brought to my attention that it was Martin Canning’s father. I am not going to report fake news, as I didn’t hear anything that was said from anyone, but I did see the anger it brought to the approached fans. It is a hard one for me personally and I don’t want to get involved to much as it doesn’t really have anything to do with me. I can understand why Martin’s dad has went down, as he can only take so much, and that the fact Martin’s little nephew was watching also. It hasn’t been the first time the fans have continued to shout abuse towards his son. Also, he might have been enraged about the fact it was Martin receiving the stick instead of Fulton, who had made the errors that have cost them. It was quite an unpleasant scene to be honest. Accies fans will quite rightly argue that they deserve an opinion as they pay their hard earned money to watch their side lose most weeks. Some may say if Mr Canning doesn’t like the abuse, he shouldn’t be there.
I just wanted to write this as other newspapers have reported the wrong thing, saying that Martins dad was attacked by the Accies fans, which is wrong. There was no fighting or physical contact whatsoever. However, as Martin’s dad headed to the exit he did get a few shouts from the fans he spoke to, which is no surprise after what happened.
I hope the incident gets cleared up ASAP.
Half Time- St Johnstone 2-0 Hamilton
The second-half got underway in a freezing cold Perth, with Accies having a mountain to climb if they wanted any hope of progressing into round five. Saints could have made it 3-0 after 50 minutes, when Kane and Watt linked up once again, but both somehow failed to pull the trigger and have a shot. Mickel Miller went close for Accies after 52 minutes, when some nice work allowed the Hamilton striker to have a shot at goal, but his effort was well saved. Alex Gogic nearly marked his return with a goal in the wrong net, as a dangerous cross by Richard Forster was headed just wide of his own goal.
It was far from an action packed second half with Saints more than happy to defend their two goal lead, as well as Accies severely struggling to break down the solid back four of St Johnstone’s. After 63 minutes, Kane nearly got himself on the scoresheet, when he glanced a cross from Forster, just over the bar. McGowan went close again for the visitors after 81 minutes, as his long ranged effort went just over. The final chance of the afternoon came in the 86th minute, when Watt won the ball in midfield, before slipping Kane through on goal, but Hamilton defended well and cleared the danger.
Full Time- St Johnstone 2-0 Hamilton
St Johnstone XI
Clark, Forster, Kerr, Shaughnessy, Tanser, Wotherspoon, Callachan, Craig, Kennedy(75), Kane, Watt(90)
Subs- Hurst, Gordon, McCann, Anderson, Alston, McMillan(90), Swanson(75)
Fulton, McGowan, Gordon, Kilgallon, Sowah, McMann, Gogic(74), Andreu, Imrie, Miller, Davies(69)
Subs- Marsden, Want, Penny, Martin, Taiwo(74), Boyd(69), Bingham
Referee- John Beaton
Assistants- David McGeachie & Andy Milne
Attendance- 2,363 (150 away)
Goals- Kerr(1), Watt(25)
Yellow Cards- Gogic(34), Craig(55)
Red Cards- 0