By David Buick
Hamilton exited the Scottish Cup after a 4-1 home defeat to Rangers.
The visitors took the lead through Scott Arfield, who saw his penalty saved by Luke Southwood but managed to tap in the rebound. Accies rallied and levelled the game through Lewis Smith, who finished well past Allan McGregor to send Accies level at the break.
In the second half Rangers eventually broke Hamilton down as Joe Aribo made it 2-1. Rangers took advantage of the game opening up to add a further two goals through Alfredo Morelos and Scott Arfield.
Here are three things we learned from a battling Hamilton performance.
Positives to take from two Old Firm defeats
Hamilton have now had two defeats to both Celtic and Rangers in their last two home games. Despite this, Brian Rice and his staff will take positives from the performances in both games.
Accies competed well throughout the game and were on level terms for a prolonged period. They looked comfortable at the back and always a threat on the counter and from set pieces.
A little bit of luck in their favour could easily have seen Hamilton take a positive result from both recent games against the Old Firm. Accies fans will hope they can take these positives and work on them for the rest of the season.
Plenty of promise from youngster Smith
Hamilton have always been praised for their youth development and yet again today there were signs of real positives from their younger players.
The matchday squad boasted six academy graduates with young Smith being a standout on the park for the Accies. Smith looked very bright and showed signs of real talent whilst also looking more than capable of being a real attacking threat against a good Rangers side.
He had a good chance early on that was saved by McGregor, but the youngster wasn’t to be denied as a similar chance later on in the first half was finished well. Another positive showing from a rising star Hamilton will be hoping can be a big player for the club, both this season and in the future.
Adding Templeton to the Accies side will make a big difference
Having re-signed with the club in the January window, David Templeton made a big impact with his first start away to St Mirren on Wednesday, where he capped a fine performance with a goal.
The winger missed today’s game and had he made it, he may have made a big difference to the home side. On a number of occasions Accies couldn’t quite find the right pass or make the most of opportunities that a player of Templeton’s quality certainly would have.
With the positives on show from Accies today, their supporters will be confident that adding Templeton to the side on a regular basis will make a big difference to their fortunes between now and the end of the season.