It was another historic night in Hamilton Academical’s history on Wednesday, as they stunned Rangers at Ibrox.
The result piles even more misery on Gers boss Steven Gerrard, with many fans turning against the former Liverpool midfielder despite having a minute’s applause for him in the eight minute of the game.
The 39-year old stated on Saturday that he had a lot of thinking to do after their Scottish Cup defeat to Hearts, and it looks as if he has even more to do after his side were beaten by Hamilton, who had yet to win a league game in 2020
The 45,000 fans inside Ibrox jeered their side of the park at full time as David Moyo pounced on a Connor Goldson’s howler to score the winning goal, while the small band of loyal travelling fans celebrated their second win at a Ibrox in the last three seasons.
It was a real statement of intent from Brian Rice’s men, who once again look to defy the odds of being relegated, even though they fell to the bottom of the table on Tuesday evening following Hearts win at Easter Road. The win moves Accies upto 11th, two points ahead of Hearts and just two points behind St Mirren in tenth.
At the other end of the table, the result rubbed more salt in the Rangers wounds as they missed a chance to close the gap on Celtic, who were held to a draw at the Toni Macaroni Arena. Instead of cutting the gap to ten points, they are now 13 points behind the champions as their post winter break slump continues.
Steven Gerrard named four changes from the side that was beaten by Hearts on Sunday . Out went Ryan Jack, Scott Arfield, Greg Stewart and Ryan Kent with their places being taken by Glen Kamara, Ianis Hagi, Alfredo Morelos and Florian Kamberi.
Hamilton made three changes from their goalless draw against Motherwell with Jamie Hamilton, Scott McMann and Lewis Smith returning to the side in place of Johnny Hunt, David Templeton and Will Collar.
Teams tend to set up to get a draw and to try “park the bus” against Rangers, but Brian Rice came to have a go and was awarded for his ambition, with both David Moyo and Marios Ogkmpoe operating as two strikers. It looked like a 5-3-2 for the visitors.
In the first half, Hamilton were continually ball chasing and like most teams do, they had their backs against the wall. The reality is that had the home side taken their chances they could have put the game to bed early on, but they didn’t.
Rangers started with a high tempo, with the first real chance arriving on the 14th minute when Hagi attempted an overhead kick which went just wide. A minute later, the on-loan Romanian had another opportunity to put his side ahead. Some terrific play led to Steven Davis chipping the ball over the top of the Accies defence into the path of Hagi, whose effort was well saved by Luke Southwood.
It was certainly a quieter return to the starting 11 than Alfredo Morelos would have hoped for, but the Columbian did have a glimpse at goal on the 33rd minute when he got on the end of Borna Barisic’s delivery, however he headed wide.
The chances kept on coming for Rangers, with this time Conor Goldson missing a sitter as he headed wide from 10-yards out.
The best chance as of yet arrived on the 37th minute when Morelos slipped in Florian Kamberi as the Gers broke free on the counterattack in numbers, but the Hibs Loanee’s powerful effort was saved by the feet of Southwood.
Hamilton managed to cluster their first attack of the evening as the first half came to a close. Alex Gogic burst free through the centre of the park before playing the ball out to Blair Alston. He then played Marios Ogkmpoe in-behind, but the Greek striker could only fire his effort over from a tight angle.
The run of chances continued into the second half, with Morelos eventually getting his first clear-cut chance shortly after the restart. He got on the end of another excellent Barisic delivery and his looping header came back off the bar.
Rangers captain James Tavernier had come under some criticism from the Rangers fans for some of his comments in the matchday programme, with many fans stating that he isn’t good enough to be the captain of the club.
The right-back wouldn’t have got any of the supporters back onside as he missed a glorious opportunity, blazing an effort over the bar at the back-post in a chance that looked easier to score than miss.
However out of nowhere Hamilton took the lead. An initial header by Ogkmpoe pulled a world-class save out of Allan McGregor, who tipped the ball onto the bar, but Rangers couldn’t clear the second-phase of play and Goldson made a hash of a clearance, allowing David Moyo to nick in and poke the ball under McGregor to put Accies ahead.
The full of Ibrox were left stunned as their side were getting beat off Hamilton, who apparently bring nothing to the league, and it was the 150 Hamilton fans who were singing away.
Gerrard wasn’t quick in trying to get a response as Ryan Kent couldn’t have been on the park any quicker to replace Glen Kamara, before Jermain Defoe came on for Kamberi five minutes later.
Accies were outstanding defensively, and looked like a side who were willing to put everything on the line to ensure they wont go down this season. It was by far the best defensive display of the season by Brian Rice’s men, who deserve a lot of credit.
Rangers were quickly running out of ideas of how to get by the great wall in Southwood, who again made another fantastic save to tip Hagi’s effort to safety.
The home fans were livid and restless inside the final ten minutes as their side went in search of an equaliser, while myself and the other travelling away fans were sat on the edge of our seats, praying that we could hold onto what would be another unbelievable and historic win.
Inside the final ten minutes, Morelos saw his effort saved by the feet of Southwood, before my heart sank in the 89th minute when Hagi’s long-ranged effort took a deflection off of Gogic and hit the crossbar.
Accies nearly doubled their lead on the break on the 92nd minute when McGregor got down smartly to deny Ogkmpoe, but Hamilton held on to pick up an incredible three points which nobody would have ever dreamed of.
Full Time- Rangers 0-1 Hamilton
RANGERS: McGregor; Tavernier (Barker, 73), Goldson, Edmundson, Barisic; Davis, Kamara (Kent, 59), Aribo, Kamberi, Morelos (Defoe, 66), Hagi.
Subs Unused: Foderingham, Jack, Halliday, Katic.
HAMILTON ACCIES: Southwood, McGowan, McMann, Alston, Gogic, Moyo (Hunt, 79), Want, Martin (Miller, 59), Smith (Winter, 73), Hamilton, Ogkmpoe.
Subs Unused: Fulton, McKenna, Collar, Mimnaugh.
Referee- Nick Walsh
Attendance- 48,167 (150 away)
Yellow Cards- Want(53), McGregor(79)
Red Cards- N/A