Hamilton Accies put in an almighty effort against Rangers and eventually got their reward in a 1-1 draw.
Accies had several chances to go ahead in what was a brilliant display from Brian Rice’s side, creating three huge chances to go ahead before the hour and another two thereafter. But heartbreak was to come as an own goal 10 minutes before the end looked to have beat them before Ross Callachan leveled after 95 minutes to secure a huge point.
Hamilton were massive underdogs in this, as they always are, but perhaps more so here than on other occasions. Cut adrift and four points from safety at the bottom of the Premiership and having lost 8-0 to Rangers last time, it was always going to be tough.
But to their credit, it was one of their better first-half performances this term during the opening 45 minutes. Rangers created next to nothing in attack and it was Hamilton who had the major openings.
It was a stodgy affair which suited Hamilton, despite the fact Rangers had almost all of the ball. They had to be concentrated on it but Gers defender Filip Helander took his eye off things for a split second on the 32nd minute mark.
That allowed new Accies striker Bruce Anderson behind the Rangers defence for a shot on goal but it was well-saved by Allan McGregor in what was the half’s big chance, Rice’s side doing very well to contain and threaten the away side in the first half.
Rangers came out for the second 45 with attacking intent as Ryan Kent blasted a shot into the side-netting 18 seconds into the half, then another was blocked by Aaron Martin five minutes later. But again Hamilton would be the ones to have the clear chances.
Scott McMann found space on the left-hand side of the box and forced McGregor into a great save before Callachan’s rebound was excellently stopped by the Rangers keeper who was keeping his side in the game.
Anderson was testing McGregor again as the veteran keeper was this time denying the Aberdeen loanee with his feet. Kent was the main source of Rangers threat and he missed a big chance to score 73 minutes in, curling an effort wide from inside the box.
McGregor was in no mood to get beat and batted a great Callachan free-kick away as it look destined for the top corner. But there was heartbreak for Accies after 79 minutes, Borna Barisic slotted behind the home defence and his ball across the box hit Brian Easton knee’s to find the net.
It was a cruel blow for Rice’s side who had accomplished more than enough to at least earn a point, probably more. But in the end they did get that crucial point, Anderson forcing McGregor into yet another save before he scrambled it under him with seconds to spare. Here are three things we learned from a dramatic Premiership encounter.
Accies deserve credit for having a right good go at Rangers in this one and had several chances to get ahead before the hour-mark. Anderson, McMann and Callachan were all denied by the brilliance of McGregor in the Rangers goal.
They had to make them count to get a strong grip on the game, however, a point at the death will be gladly taken by Rice who’s team fought against the odd when Rangers came to town in order to close the gap on their rivals.
Hitting the road
This was already a tough fixture for Hamilton but now further assignments of difficulty await Rice’s men. They don’t play at home now until March 3rd, four away games to Livingston, Motherwell, St Mirren and Hibs to come this month.
It’s a tough ask for Accies and with just two homes games now before the split, it’s vital that they pick up results. This will give them so much encouragement.
The capture of Anderson from Aberdeen on loan looks a good one for Rice’s attacking efforts. He helped created Accies’ midweek goal against Ross County and only the form of McGregor denied him a goal here.
He hassled the Rangers backline all day and ran himself into the ground, causing several issues and mistakes. His continued form will be key in Hamilton’s fight for survival.
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