By Joseph Thomson
It was Hamilton who got off to the better start. With eight minutes on the clock, Marios Ogkmpoe almost put the home side in the lead, only an impressive close-range stop from on-loan Juventus keeper Laurentiu Branescu preventing Accies from going in front.
Just before the twenty-minute mark Accies were again causing the Kilmarnock defence problems, this time neat interplay from Aaron McGowan and Lewis Smith on the right seeing the youngster whip in an inviting cross for David Moyo in the box. Although impressively springing up to out-leap Kirk Broadfoot, the 25-year-old could only fire a header high and above the target.
After the break, with conditions worsening, it became a hugely scrappy affair with both teams struggling to create any real rhythm or flow to their attack. Just after the hour though, Eamonn Brophy found himself with some space, but an acute angled strike from his weak foot could not find the target.
With just ten minutes remaining, Hamilton’s chances of winning were suddenly made all the more difficult when substitute Mickel Miller was handed a second yellow card after clipping Burke in a wide position.
The sending off appeared to have the opposite effect, instead Accies appeared energised. Just as it began to look as if Hamilton were going to cap off what was a solid week by gaining a point with ten men against a side hungry in their search for a top six finish, Accies were handed the opportunity to take all three points.
Willie Collum pointed to the spot. Judging Kirk Broadfoot to have wiped out Ogkmpoe, up-stepped the Greek, whose penalty, although touched by the Kilmarnock keeper, flew into the roof of the net, giving Hamilton their first back-to-back victories of the season.
It lifts Brian Rice’s side out the danger zone whilst Killie have taken a hit in their top six quest. Here are three things we learned.
Top six blow for Kilmarnock
Although it’s certainly understandable given O’Donnell’s threat from right-back and Burke’s impressive stats out wide on the right for Kilmarnock this season, it appears that the Ayrshire side can be a little bit one-dimensional in their approach to attacking.
This result has left Alex Dyer’s side with lots of work to do in order to gain a top six berth again. They sit four points off sixth placed Hibs with three to go until the split. Fixtures against a St Mirren team fighting for their lives, Motherwell on the road and Livingston in Ayrshire will all prove tough tests.
Accies defence is solid
Accies are again on course to prove people wrong. It seems that at the start of every season and even half-way through the season, people think that this is the season that they will be relegated. It appears though after this week that, again, they have the mental toughness and bottle to record a sixth consecutive season in the top flight of Scottish football.
They seem to have found a system and defensive set-up that is more than solid. A stubborn defence is certainly needed given that they have only managed to score more than one goal in a game twice in nine league matches in 2020.
It will go down to the wire
In terms of the relegation battle, it appears that with only a month and a half remaining, that this could go down to the very last day.
At the start of the week, Hamilton found themselves rooted to the bottom of the division. Now, after just two victories, they have managed to move themselves not only off of bottom spot, but also out of the play-off position too. That’s how tight it is.
To make it even more interesting, as things go, the teams occupying the bottom three positions are in relatively good form. Hamilton have now recorded a total of eight points out of a potential thirteen in their last six games, whilst both Hearts and St Mirren have lost only two of their last six.