By Ben McNicol
Hamilton’s great escape attempt in the Scottish Premiership is well and truly on after a fantastic 2-1 away win against St Mirren.
Accies manager Brian Rice watched on from the stands as he serves a touchline ban, strikes in either half from Ross Callachan and David Moyo sealing Hamilton’s victory. Jamie McGrath pulled one back for St Mirren but the visitors stood strong to move two points behind Kilmarnock in 11th and three off Ross County in 10th.
The Buddies are chasing a seventh-place finish for the first time in 32 years but manager Jim Goodwin opted to rest some key players ahead of next weekend’s Scottish Cup semi-final with St Johnstone. It was the home side who started better on the ball but failed to create any meaningful opportunities.
Accies grew into the half as it wore on and came twice to opening the scoring in quick succession. Kyle Munro’s header from Scott McMann’s cross was cleared off the line before Callachan capitalised on a defensive mix-up but could only stab his effort wide.
Hamilton kept plugging away and deservedly took the lead midway through the first half. Reegan Mimnaugh played Lee Hodson down the right-wing and his pass into Callachan was bundled home for his 10th goal of the campaign.
The second-half started similar to the first-half. St Mirren curled over a free-kick at one end while at the other side Accies doubled their advantage with a stoke of fortune as Bruce Anderson’s shot deflected off Moyo and into the back of the net.
St Mirren pulled one back just under 20 minutes from time when Ilkay Durmus’ cross was only cleared as far as McGrath, the Irishman firing home with a sweet strike amid growing speculation on his future in Paisley
It should’ve been level shortly after when McGrath sent Jay Henderson through but he blazed his effort well over the bar. Accies managed to hold on a priceless three points and here are three things we learned.
Priceless three points
This was simply a must-win game for Hamilton considering a loss for Kilmarnock and win for Ross County. Accies duly obliged with a superb performance in Paisley. It was their first win since a Lanarkshire derby victory over Motherwell in February.
Accies’ great escape
Rice reckons that survival this season would be like climbing Mount Everest in flip-flops and he probably isn’t wrong considering everything that’s went against the Lanarkshire side this season. It’s now in their hands and they know that wins against Ross County and Kilmarnock would guarantee Premiership safety.
Eyes on Hampden
Goodwin admitted he had one eye on next week’s semi-final against St Johnstone. He benched some of the big guns and gave starts to fringe players but the St Mirren boss felt they didn’t do themselves justice.
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