For clubs like Hamilton Accies, it’s not about a race for a European place. Nor is it about finishing in the top six or anything towards the top end of the table.
Accies are perhaps one of Scotland’s biggest overachievers when it comes to their current league standing. For them, Premiership survival is of the utmost importance.
In recent times, it’s thanks to their youth academy that they’re able to do so. With Accies in trouble this campaign, what defies belief is why they neglect one of the main weapons in their arsenal.
Notable young talents
Accies’ two most prominent and successful young players came through around the same time. The bizarrely named duo James McCarthy and James McArthur were both sold onto Wigan Athletic for a rumoured combined £1.5 million.
That may seem like peanuts these days but for a club like Accies, it’s this money and potential sell-on fees that raise them significant cash. After all, having both won the FA Cup with the Latics in 2013, they both still ply their trade in the English Premier League. Irish international James McCarthy plays for Everton, retired Scottish international McArthur is at Crystal Palace.
Current manager Martin Canning succeeded Alex Neil after he left for Norwich. At Carrow Road, he won the Canaries promotion to the Premier League. Under Canning’s stewardship, they’ve survived in the top tier for the longest period since WWII.
The closest Accies came to relegation was in 2017 when they were victorious in the playoffs over Dundee United. Their hero to seal a 1-0 aggregate win was academy graduate Greg Docherty. Now a Rangers player, he’s enjoying a fantastic season on loan at Shrewsbury Town.
If Accies are to be successful, they must continue to bring young players through. That’s why they are where they are, and there’s no reason for them to alter the plan.