Accies 2-0 St Johnstone, 18th May

Mark Gillespie with his final match report of the season…

Our thanks to Mark and Martin for all their reports and interviews this past season

 

 

Ladbrokes Premiership

Hope Stadium

Saturday 18th May 2019 at 12.30pm

 

HamiltonAcademical 2 St Johnstone 0

 

We’ve done it again. At the final hurdle we secured a sixth straight season of top flight football, extending our post WW2 record. Goals from Gordon and Davies in both halves allowed the fans to breath easily at the end of a long season of ups and downs and changes. Final day cliff hanger it was but this was about as assured a victory as Accies have delivered throughout the campaign.

Brian Rice has now delivered five wins and four draws in his 15 games since taking over at the helm. He gave his thoughts post-match.

“Today we set out to win the game. That’s the way I see football, and I think you saw that in the first 30 minutes. It was important to get that early goal. All credit to the players and everyone behind the scenes. The hard work we’ve put in has paid off.”

“Staying up probably tops everything I’ve done in football. Me coming here in January has been a big transition for the players, them not knowing me, and me trying to instil my style.”

“But it’s not about me. I’m just delighted I got the opportunity to come in here and coach. My title’s head coach, and that’s where I’m at my happiest, out on that training pitch.”

“I’ve got a lot of young talented players in this squad here. They’ll be part of my first team squad next year. It’s a long-term plan. I need to get these kids through.”

Four academy players started on the bench, as Accies made three changes from the defeat at St Mirren. Shaun Want started his first game since Boxing Day in place of the suspended Alex Gogic. Sowah and Davies also returned as we went with a back three, with Mimnaugh and Ogkmpoe making way.

Our opponents made four changes from last weekend’s win over Motherwell, with Swanson, Hendry, Easton and Callachan preferred to Kerr, Tanser, Davidson and Kennedy in Tommy Wright’s starting plans.

They were under the cosh early, with all the onus on Accies. We had the first sight of goal on three minutes, McGowan swinging a cross in for Oakley in the box who stooped to head just wide.

Accies were showing all the early initiative. Andreu found the top of the Saints net with another header on eight minutes, after a McMann cross from the left.

He set up his fellow wing back on 10 minutes, Zander Clark with the save from McGowan’s header.  We took a deserved lead from the resulting corner, Ziggy Gordon tapping home as the Saints defence struggled to clear Andreu’s delivery.

We had made all the running, but Saints slowly found their way into the game. A Kerr volley from the edge of the box was high and wide on 21 minutes, with McGowan having to block off the line on 28 minutes, as Wotherspoon shot from the edge of the box.

Wotherspoon was inches over from the right angle of the box on 34 minutes. Saints weren’t here to make up the numbers, but Accies kept their shape and discipline.

Darian MacKinnon had a spectacular effort on 38 minutes. After dribbling to the edge of the Saints box, the skipper’s effort was just over Clark’s bar.

Inevitably fans had one eye on events at Dens Park, as news of St Mirren’s lead filtered through. It was in our own hands though as Accies went in search of the two-goal cushion. McMann almost delivered it on 48 minutes, played in by Andreu but firing straight at Clark.

But Davies settled some nerves with his second goal for Accies on 56 minutes, rifling home low from the edge of the box, after a mix up in the Saints defence.

Andreu fired just over from the edge of the box two minutes later as we sought to make sure. The Perth side were to have their share of possession for the closing half hour without causing any real doubts.

Instead we might have added to the lead late on, with Clark blocking sub Ogkmpoe’s shot in injury time and Andreu just wide from the free kick.

It was fitting that Dougie Imrie came on for his final appearance to see Accies through to another season of Premier League football. The club captain made an emotional farewell as he took the acclaim of the fans at the final whistle. Former Club Secretary Scott Struthers retrieved the matchball from the referee to present it to Dougie to mark his final appearance, his 505th in his career.

 

Accies: Woods, McGowan, McMann, Gordon, Davies (Ogkmpoe, 58 ), Oakley, MacKinnon (c), Want (Imrie, 80), Andreu, Martin (Mimnaugh, 87), Sowah; Subs Unused: Marsden, Winter, L Smith, Hamilton

Accies Goals:Gordon, 10, Davies, 56

Accies Cautions: McMann, 72,Martin, 77, MacKinnon, 85

St Johnstone: Clark, Kane, Wotherspoon, Swanson (Hamilton,81), Kerr, Foster, Hendry (O’Halloran, 68), Gordon, Easton, Craig, Callachan (Alston, 70); Subs Unused:Bell, Tanser, Shaughnessy, Davidson

St Johnstone Cautions: Craig, 6

 

Referee: Steven McLean; Assistants:David Roome & Graeme Leslie; 4th Official: Steven Reid

 

Attendance: 2553