After a remarkable goal against Dundee in stoppage time on Saturday, Accies faced another huge game against St Johnstone at The Hope CBD Stadium. The Accies camp is quite simply full of confidence at the moment and the fans are constantly talking about the huge changes Brian Rice has made so far. Darian Mackinnon’s last minute wonder strike left the impression that the real Accies are back, as before if we went 1-0 down we would have simply lost and the fans would give up hope.
Both deadline day strikers, George Oakley and David McMillan looked very good signings after watching them both last Saturday. George has a phenomenal work rate and looks like a finisher. David changed the game when he came on and caused Dundee quite a few problems. One transfer window has changed our attacking options completely, with us having 3 good quality strikers.
Brian Rice made one change from the side that drew against Dundee on Saturday. Tony Andreu didn’t play very well on Saturday so was dropped and replaced by Dougie Imrie. David McMillan was ruled out of Wednesdays match as he was unable to play against his parent club and Scott McMann was out injured as he broke his hand after an awkward fall last weekend.
Tommy Wright made two changes from Saints 2-0 defeat last Sunday against the Champions, with Danny Swanson dropping to the bench and Murray Davidson missing out completely. They were replaced by Ross Callachan and Liam Craig.
The game got underway under the floodlights of New Douglas Park, in what was a freezing night in South Lanarkshire. The first chance of the evening came after 5 minutes when a poor headed clearance from Matthew Kilgallon led to Liam Craig being slotted through on goal but Gary Woods spread himself well to save with his legs. The Saints had another good chance to open the scoring when on the 11th minute, a cross from a free-kick found Joe Shaughnessy at the back-post, but his towering header went over. He should have done better.
After a dominate 15 minutes from the visiotors, Accies began to find their feet and created some opportunites for themselves. The first home chance came after 25 minutes when Steven Davies chested the ball down to Steven Boyd, who volleyed an effort wide from 20 yards out. Davies continued to bully the Saints defenders as he created another half chance for Boyd after 30 minutes. It was a similar chance to the previous one. Once again the big Accies striker laid it up for Boyd but his effort was easily saved by Zander Clark.
Tony Watt was inches away from scoring on the 35th minute, when a low cross from Scott Tanser found Watt, who took it by Ziggy Gordon and fired his effort into the side netting.
The best chance of the entire half came just before the half-time whistle. What a save it was from Clark, whos having an outstanding season and is due a Scotland cap soon enough. George Oakley was only denied a debut goal by an outstanding save by Dieng on Saturday and it was a similar story here as the ball pinballed around the area, before Oakley’s effort was brilliantly kept out. However the offside flag was up but no one knew at the time.
Half Time- Hamilton 0-0 St Johnstone
St Johnstone had the first opportunity of the second half as Lenny Sowah made a mess of long ball by former Rangers player Sean Goss, which allowed Matthew Kennedy to sneak in-behind and go clean through on goal. The striker raced through and lofted his effort over Woods and more importantly, over the bar.
After 61 minutes, Accies got a free-kick in a promising position. It was taken by Steven Boyd and his effort deflected off the wall and landed on the roof of the net, with Clark not moving a muscle and well beaten. I thought it was in.
It was Hamilton who took a well deserved lead after 67 minutes. Davies held the ball up before sliding in substitute Mickel Miller. He raced by Richard Forster before drilling a low ball which was poked home by Oakley at the front-post. The home stand was rocking.
The lead didn’t last very long however as the away side pulled one back. Chris Kane spun by his man with ease before his cross found Liam Craig all by himself at the back-post allowing him to tap home into an empty net. Its fair to say Craig loves a goal against Accies.
Once again Accies showed their fighting spirit and regained the lead just three minutes after going behind. It was a similar goal to the first one but this time it was the other substitute, Tony Andreu who delivered an absolute peach of a ball into Oakley, who toe-poked it home by Clark at the front-post. Its certainly looking like money well spent on Oakley.
Saints pushed forward in the hunt of another equaliser. Chris Kane had an effort after 86 minutes which was easily gathered by Woods as Accies soaked up the late pressure.
The last action of the evening was a long ball, which was flicked into the path of Michael O’Halloran as Kilgallon slipped. As the Saints man bared down on goal and was about to pull the trigger, Ziggy Gordon came flying in with a brilliant goal-saving challenge to deflect it out for a corner. You could hear a pin drop in the stadium as the tension was high as the corner was delivered, but Accies cleared.
What a massive three points it could turn out to be for Hamilton, with better news of Kenny Miller missing a 94th minute penalty at Dens Park, which would of also seen Dundee claim three points against Stevie Clarks Killie side. A perfect night for Accies as it finished…
Full Time- Hamilton 2-1 St Johnstone
Woods, McGowan, Gordon, Kilgallon, Sowah, Gogic, Imrie(60), Mackinnon, Boyd(68), Davies(75), Oakley
Subs- Fulton, Penny, Smith, Martin(75), Miller(60), Andreu(68), Keating’s
St Johnstone XI
Clark, Foster, Kerr, Shaughnessy, Tanser, O’Halloran, Goss, Callachan(83), Craig, Watt(66), Kennedy(77)
Subs- Bell, Keown, Gordon, Alston(83), Swanson, Kane(66), Wotherspoon(77)
Referee- Gavin Duncan
Assistants- Andrew McWilliam & Ralph Gordon
Fourth Official- Andrew Dallas
Attendance- 1,174 (232 Away)
Goals- Oakley(68, 79) Craig(76)
Yellow Cards- Shaughnessy(61), Gogic(64), Andreu(84)
Red Cards- 0