The match was even for the most part in the first half but it was Kilmarnock who looked the likelier to score. Both sides were making use of their target men, David Moyo and Nicke Kabamba, using them as their outlet balls to create attacks.
Kabamba was winning every ball that was coming towards him and was giving the Hamilton defence a horrible time as well. He started several attacks using his hold-up play and by flicking the ball onto Eamonn Brophy or Greg Kiltie.
Kabamba had three headers on goal during the first half but all three fell straight into Ryan Fulton’s hands. The Accies backline were struggling with the physicality of the 27-year-old, but his heading wasn’t up to his usual standard.
The game shifted on the 30-minute mark when a bad challenge from Clevid Dikamona on Scott Martin saw the defender shown a red card. You could see the frustration on Alex Dyer’s face as he realised he had to go through majority of the 90 minutes with 10 men for the second consecutive match.
Hamilton picked up momentum from this as Kilmarnock adjusted to 10 men once again. They nearly had their opener on the stroke of half time when Scott McMann’s cross found the head of Moyo yet again, but the striker’s effort narrowly missed the target and trickled wide.
The second half started of even with both sides failing to create any real chances in the early minutes. Nathan Thomas proved to be an in influential sub for Brian Rice as he opened the Kilmarnock defence up with his mazy runs.
His first involvement came as McMann laid the ball off to the winger on the right flank; Thomas decided to cut in on his left and fired an effort towards goal. It was heading towards the top corner if it wasn’t for a great save by Danny Rogers which had it fly to safety.
Hamilton finally found their golden opportunity to open the scoring. Great link-up play down the right flank between Thomas and Ross Callachan had Callachan strike a shot towards goal – it was blocked by Brandon Haunstrup, but Willie Collum called to the spot for hand ball.
Callachan stepped up to be the hero and fired the ball home to score his fourth goal of the season. Hamilton nearly added a second moments later after more great feet from Thomas seen him past Haunstrup again before playing a killer cutback to Callachan. His strike was blocked.
Killie were sending all their players forward in an attempt find their equaliser but all attacks fell short and Hamilton stayed strong at the back. There wasn’t a chance that gave Rice’s men much to worry about and they will be delighted to get their first league clean sheet since August. Here are three things we learned.
Following Hamilton’s 1-1 draw with Aberdeen and them being awarded a 3-0 win in their postponed match against St Mirren, this victory takes Accies out of the relegation spots.
It is improvement for Rice and his team though and they will be taking confidence in the fact they have finally picked up a much-needed three points.
Killie see red again
It’s now two games in a row that Dyer has watched one of his defenders get sent off and in the first half hour on both occasions. Stuart Findlay had to miss this fixture after receiving a red in their 3-1 win over Ross County.
Dyer will be disappointed that his side weren’t able to come away with a win like they did at Rugby Park the previous week.
Key players missing
Kilmarnock were without key players as a few missed out due to injury, on top of Findlay’s suspension. Ross Millen, Gary Dicker and Chris Burke were all absent from today’s match squad.
Rory McKenzie was on the bench but did not feature because he was recovering from an illness he picked up during the week. There were obvious gaps in the Kilmarnock side because of this and it was clear they were missing Findlay and Dicker in particular.