Saturday was the start of a new era at Accies after the surprise departure of Martin Canning on Tuesday afternoon. Canning left Hamilton after a mutual agreement, with the South Lanarkshire side severely struggling and badly back-peddling in the last 18 months. This brought a huge sigh of relief to the majority of fans, as we all knew it was time for a change if we had any hope of staying up. The negative football was simply not working. Chairman Allan Maitland said he wanted to sign someone experienced and someone who will ” play to win games”.
Brian Rice was the man who got the job on Thursday afternoon. To be honest, i had no idea who the man was but after researching about him, ive found he is well experienced and was highly regarded as an assistant manager at his previous clubs.
Rice was straight into business after being appointed on Thursday, signing two badly needed strikers, who are also goalscorers. David McMillan signed on-loan from St Johnstone, after struggling to get first team football. He was once the leading goalscorer for Dundalk back in 2017. He also signed the highly-rated Inverness striker George Oakley for an undisclosed fee, which caused a meltdown in the highlands.
It was decided that Brian Rice would be in the dug-out for Hamilton’s game against Dundee on Saturday, which was probably one of the biggest games of the season. It felt like a brand new club after the news midweek. So much positivty and passion by everyone. The feel good factor was well and truly back.
New boss, Brian Rice made 2 changes for the huge game with deadline day signing George Oakley making his debut. Steven Boyd also started in midfield. Darian MacKinnon started in the heart of midfield after recovering from an injury.
Its fair to say Dundee had a busy transfer window, with 11 new players coming in and releasing quite a few who were hopeless. They also lost Glen Kamara to Rangers in a pre-contract agreement but were happy to take 100k and send him early. They signed a few decent players with the likes on Andy Nelson, Ryan McGowan and more impressively, Scott Wright on-loan from Aberdeen. Jim McIntyre made numerous changes from the side that got hammered by championship side, Queen Of The South in the Scottish Cup replay on Tuesday. Scott Wright made his debut for The Dee, with veteran Kenny Miller dropping to the bench. Rory Deacon and Ryan Innis were both released after their poor performances as of late so Martin Woods and Ethan Robson were in midfield. Ryan McGowan, James Horsfield and Andreas Hadenius also all make their debuts for Dundee.
The game got underway in Hamilton, with Accies looking like a brand new side. They were attacking non stop and what a sight it was. Every single player was the most confident i have ever seen them. Accies started well on the front-foot. After just one minute a cross from the left found Tony Andreu at the edge of the box, but his effort was stabbed wide of the post. The home side should of opened the scoring after five minutes when some brilliant fighting spirit from George Oakley won him the ball back before he drove towards the Dundee box and played in Steven Boyd, who beat the offside trap, composed himself and curled his effort just wide of the post. The chances kept coming for Hamilton and they had an even better chance of breaking the deadlock on the 11th minute. A cross from Scott Martin beat both Andreu and Kusunga, allowing the ball to fall for Oakley at point-blank range. His effort was brilliantly saved by Dieng before rebound efforts from Andreu were blocked by Kusunga and Ryan McGowan.
After a dominant opening 25 minutes from the hosts, Dundee began to find their feet in the game. Accies had Gary Woods to thank after 32 minutes when he made an unbelievable save to deny Martin Woods from close range after Nathan Ralph by passed his marker down the wing. His cross found Woods all by himself, but the Dundee mans effort was somehow kept out.
The next chance came for Hamilton and it was another glamerous move from the hosts. Some nice work from Andreu, allowed him to take it by his marker before sliding in Stephen Boyd, however the Accies man hesitated an rushed his shot which sailed high over the bar. Woods came to Accies rescue once again just before the interval with what was another outstanding save. This time, Scott Wright beat his man before his cut back fell to Andy Dales, who’s effort was smartly tipped around the post.
It was a rather surprisingly entertaining first half at The Hope CBD stadium.
Half Time- Hamilton 0-0 Dundee
The second half got underway in South Lanarkshire and it looked like one goal would settle this one. It was far from a flary start like the first half. The first real chance came after 52 minutes when Scott McMann’s cut-back from the left-hand side found Scott Martin who blasted well over.
The opening goal came on the break after 65 minutes, when Ralph bombed forward and played it into Paul McGowan, but it took an unfortunate deflection of the Accies “McGowan” and straight to Wright, who composed himself and curled it into the left-hand corner. Normally when Accies go 1-0 down they lose by 2/3, but this game had a different feel to it and it felt like the old Accies fighting spirit was back.
The home side were only denied an equaliser after 72 minutes by an outstanding save from Dee’s keeper Seny Dieng. A shot from the edge of the box took a huge deflection, which wrong-footed everyone apart from Dieng, who got a strong hand on it to keep it out before it was punted to safety.
It looked like a painful start for Brian Rice, as his side played excellent and deserved a point at least. Accies scored right at the death, sending the home fans crazy. What a goal it was. The Dundee keeper made a hash of a clearance. Hamilton pushed forward, The ball was brilliantly laid-off by Steven Davies at the edge of the box, allowing Mackinnon to unleash a thunderbolt into the top corner.
What an ending at New Douglas Park.
Full Time- Hamilton 1-1 Dundee
Woods, McGowan, McMann, Kilgallon, Gordon, Gogic, MacKinnon, Martin(57) Boyd(57), Andreu, Oakley(68)
Subs- Fulton, Sowah, Mimnaugh, Miller(57), Imrie, Davies(57), McMillan(68)
Dieng, Horsfield, Kusunga, Hadenius, Ralph, McGowan, Woods, Robson(61), Dales(78), Curran(77), Wright
Subs- Parish, Moore, Kerr, McGowan(61), Nelson, O’Sullivan(78), Miller(77)
Referee- Euan Anderson
Assistants- David Roome & Stuart Stevenson
Fourth Official- Nick Walsh
Attendance- 2,297 ( 887 Away)
Goals- Wright(66), MacKinnon(90)
Yellow Cards- Martin(39), Curran (62), Gogic(71), Gordon(73), MacKinnon(74), Ralph(74)
Red Cards- 0