Hamilton Academical’s stay in the Scottish Premiership is officially over as Kilmarnock drop into the relegation play-off, despite a 2-0 win on the final day.
Tommy Wright’s side will face Championship contenders Dundee for a place in the top flight next week after Ross County won against Motherwell. Hamilton needed to win this by nine goals to survive but Mitch Pinnock’s double ended their seven-year stay in the top flight for good ahead of Kilmarnock’s huge season finale.
Hamilton head coach Brian Rice handed 19-year-old goalkeeper Jamie Smith an Accies debut while a whole other array of fringe players were given one final opportunity to impress before the summer. Kilmarnock knew three points were a must if they wanted to avoid 11th place, County only in need of a point at Fir Park.
They started in the right fashion as Pinnock slammed home Ross Millen’s teasing cross from the right-hand side. The visitors doubled their advantage on the stroke of half-time when Alan Power slipped Pinnock clean through on goal and he slotted the ball under Smith.
Pinnock nearly completed his hat-trick on the 63rd minute as Chris Burke’s cut-back from the edge of the box evaded everyone bar the forward and he looked destined to score his third of the afternoon. That was until George Stanger put in an outstanding block.
Aaron Martin handed him another chance as he conceded a penalty, but Smith made a debut penalty save to keep the scoring down. Here are three things we learned.
The day where it happened
Hamilton knew their fate after a bitterly disappointing defeat in Dingwall on Wednesday night and on this occasion, Premiership survival was one step too far, needing to win this by nine goals to survive. It’s been a season to forget for the New Douglas Park outfit and they’ll be looking to bounce back sooner rather than later in the Championship.
Kilmarnock’s stay in Scotland’s top-flight is under threat and they will face Dundee in the play-offs over the next week. Manager Wright has managed to get them scoring ahead of the Dundee double-header but it’s proven too little, too late, in terms of keeping them out the tense affairs.
Hamilton awarded 19-year-old academy graduate Jamie Smith his debut. The goalkeeper spent last season out on loan at West of Scotland League side Rossvale and although he didn’t cover himself in glory for the opening goal, he made a couple of decent saves and will most likely be part of the squad next season in the Championship.
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