By David Buick

Hamilton defeated Ayr United 2-1 as Brian Rice’s men responded well from their midweek defeat to Annan in League Cup action.

Marios Ogkmpoe and Charlie Trafford were the goalscorers, both in the first half. There was a second half fightback from the Honest Men as Michael Moffat got one back but it just wasn’t to be the Somerset Park side’s day.  

Hamilton v Ayr

On a morale-boosting afternoon for Hamilton, here are three things we learned.

Victory the perfect response from Rice’s side

Following Tuesday night’s dreadful result, as Accies lost to League Two Annan Athletic, their performances of late has seen pressure starting to mount. Heading into this game, there was certainly a feeling that this game was almost a must-win for Rice.

Given the stakes and the building pressure it was vital that Accies did just that. Ayr were definitely a step up in opposition from Annan and despite the Honest Men being very much in the game throughout, it was a solid, determined performance from Hamilton.

Celtic v Hamilton Academical - Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership

Determined display. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

For the large part they looked solid at the back, a big difference from the Annan result midweek as well as looking threatening in attack with Ogkmpoe and Trafford taking their goals well.

There were also numerous occasions that they could have extended their lead with Hakeem Odoffin in particular an aerial threat from set-pieces. Rice will be hopeful that this can be a confidence boost going forward whilst also alleviating some of the pressure on his team.  

Bruce Anderson a big miss for the Honest Men

Ayr went into the game without new signing Anderson. The Aberdeen loanee has made a scoring start to life at Somerset Park and his form has been rewarded with a late call-up to the Scotland U21s.

The Aberdeen loanee was a miss. (Photo by Scott Baxter/Getty Images)

The absence of Anderson saw player-manager Kerr go with a front two of Moffat and Dario Zanatta. The latter showed signs of promise, especially in the first where he effectively used his pace to stretch the game and get his side in dangerous areas. Likewise, Moffat looked very lively and on a number of occasions took up good positions to help his side and whilst he did get on the scoresheet in the second half, he did have a golden chance earlier that you would have fancied Anderson to finish.

That was the story of Ayr’s afternoon, some good build-up but a failure to be clinical in big moments, something Anderson will add. Kerr will be able to take positives from his sides attacking performance and will be somewhat reassured at the knowledge of having Anderson to come into the side going forward.  

Squad depth factor

Looking at the team sheets pre-match it was noticeable that Ayr were much lighter than their Premiership opponents. Ayr had gaffer Kerr amongst the subs alongside only 5 other relatively inexperienced players. 

Celtic v Hamilton Academical - Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership

Rice was able to change it up, (Photo by Andrew Milligan/Pool via Getty Images)

Hamilton meanwhile were able to turn to the likes of David Moyo and Scott Martin amongst others, players with plenty first team experience who were able to help them seal their win. 

For Ayr, the lack of options, especially in attacking areas, made it very difficult to freshen things as they chased a late equaliser and in truth Hamilton’s fresh legs helped create openings on the counter that they could have capitalised on.  

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