Brian Rice was disappointed with Hamilton’s 5-3 defeat to St Johnstone but the effort on show pleased him as the Accies boss praised Ronan Hughes.

In a crazy game in South Lanarkshire, Accies found themselves 3-0 down inside 33 minutes thanks to a Stevie May double and David Wotherspoon strike. They would show their trademark resilience before half-time as Hughes and Marios Ogkmpoe made it 3-2 after 45 minutes.

Celtic v Hamilton Academical - Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership

Ogkmpoe brought it close. (Photo by Andrew Milligan/Pool via Getty Images)

But it couldn’t be turned into a brilliant comeback, Hughes’ second of the afternoon with 11 minutes to go not enough as Craig Conway scored two goals in the final 20 minutes.

It was a disappointing defeat for Hamilton, perhaps made worse with star man David Templeton leaving the field injured in the first half. Manager Rice was happy with his replacement in Hughes though as the Accies boss reflected on the 5-3 Saints defeat.

“David’s took a sore one but it gave us an opportunity to get Ronan on the pitch,” said Rice. “We’ve not been able to do that recently since his injury at Parkhead. He managed to get two goals and that’ll be a massive boost to the young man.

Templeton picked up a knock. (Photo by Ewan Bootman/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

“We gave ourselves a mountain to climb and I’m bitterly disappointed. Hamilton isn’t known for giving up, we’ve seen that today so we go again on Tuesday night.

“It was not the start we wanted losing a goal right away. It was a bit harsh to be 3-0 down and I said that to them at the end. You sink or swim and I did not see anybody jumping off the ship there but we gave ourselves too much to do.

“We scored three goals at home and it is not often you see Hamilton do that but we still did not take anything from the game.

Celtic v Hamilton Academical - Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership

Disappointed with defeat (Photo by Andrew Milligan/Pool via Getty Images)

“I am not disappointed with the effort just the result.  I get satisfaction from the effort they put in and there is way of losing games and they gave it everything they had. We had four strikers on the pitch and we set up to win the game.”

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