Our website reporter Martin McConnell caught up with club captain Dougie Imrie after his 500th senior appearance, and goalscorer Aaron McGowan…
Another big result wasn’t it?
“Magic. We needed that, obviously it pulls us away again. With the St. Mirren game called off today and Dundee playing tomorrow, it was important that we got the win and we managed to do that. The gaffer spoke all week about the disappointment of last week’s derby and being 2-0 down after just ten minutes. It was important that we didn’t start like that today. But I thought every player to a man was fantastic today.”
You always seem to pull out these type of results intermittently throughout the season. How do you get round to doing it? Is it just tenacity and hard work?
“No. We went to Aberdeen two weeks ago and we beat them up there. A lot of people think we just pick up results but we’re a good team. And if we listen to what the manager says and carry out his instructions then we’ll have good opportunities to win games. Obviously last week we didn’t. Since the gaffer has come in, his plans and views on the game have been very good and it’s up to us to carry them out. I’m sure that if we do that then we’ll pick up more wins than losses.”
What has been the biggest change since he’s come to the club?
“He just wants to get the ball down and play. He seems to want two playing up the park as well as it gives teams problems playing with two strikers. But the biggest thing is that he wants us to enjoy it and play with a smile on our faces. You make a mistake then don’t worry about it, just keep playing. Keep getting on the ball, play with a freedom and it seems to be working. We’ve now picked up a few victories against sides that you wouldn’t normally expect us to pick up. The biggest thing for us now is to build up some momentum and try to win two or three games on the bounce. Not win one then lose a couple before getting another win. We need some consistency to start picking up points and pushing ourselves away from the bottom.”
You weren’t on the pitch for very long but 500 appearances is quite an achievement isn’t it?
“Yes, it’s good to have played that many games. I didn’t come into the game until l was almost 23 so to rack up that many appearances in the time that I have, I’m obviously delighted. But I’ve got to thank the players, the management and the other staff at the clubs I’ve been involved with for giving me the opportunity to get to that amount of games. It’s been a pleasure playing for all those clubs, most of my career has been at Hamilton but I’ve also had great times at Inverness, St. Mirren and Morton as well.”
Were you too keen when you came on at the beginning?
“No, I was actually Baltic as I couldn’t feel my feet. Kicking the ball felt like kicking a bag of cement. But no, like I say just delighted being given the chance to reach 500.”
What’s the next milestone?
I’m hearing that it was your first goal for Hamilton. When was the last time you scored in senior football? Can you remember?
“Two and a half years ago. [For Morecambe] Exeter away.”
Was it as good as that one?
Were you surprised to get as much space at the time?
“Yes. We did work on it all week, we’ve normally been playing with a four, diamond, two. We worked all week with a 3-5-2 with me and Lenny Sowah up the pitch a bit more. I felt like I was getting in there nearly every time. I just thought to myself that if it came to me, I fancied myself. I had a header from a corner five minutes earlier when I was free, I should have done better with it to be honest with you. But when the ball came across I just thought to put it back to where it came from. It’s of those things that nine times out of ten it goes right over the stand.”
But it was a difficult one to take.
“Yes, but it just went in. I’m delighted but it’s more about the three points today. It’s a massive three points for this football club. We’ve put a little bit of distance between ourselves and the other two. So as I say, going in to the international weekend we’ve now got some momentum to come back to in time for Kilmarnock away in two weeks time.”
Do you feel that you should have scored before today?
“Yes, I’ve had chances. I’m not soft, I don’t kid myself. I’ve had enough chances this season. I feel that I’m a threat from set pieces and I think that I should have put a few of them away. But yes, it doesn’t matter now but hopefully I now start to put some of them away when they come.It was a good day.”
That’s another top six team that you’ve beaten. Has the team got a lot of belief at the minute?
“Yes. Obviously since the new manager has come in, he’s given us quite a bit of belief to a man. We believe now when we play these big teams and don’t need to sit back. We now believe that we can attack them and they don’t like it, when you get after a team no one likes it. So as I say, we’ve got that belief and we work hard in training. He’s got us in double sessions, it’s not great on the legs but on days like this it pays off. So yes, he’s given us belief and we go into every game now thinking we can get something.”
Is it a totally different mind-set?
“Yes, I’d say so. You know I’m not going to sit here and go on about the old regime, I’m not that sort of person. But since the new gaffer has come in, everything has been positive. You can see it amongst the fans, everyone at the club to a man has been given a lift. Hopefully that continues and we can have a good run in. We don’t want to be going down to the last week’s, we want to get our own house in order and get safe as soon as possible. That’s our ambition for the season now and as the gaffer says, we don’t want to think about the other two we’ll just concentrate on ourselves. With the results over the last month and a half it seems to be picking up.”
From a personal point of view, are you out of contract in the summer?
“No, I’ve got another year left.”
Obviously you don’t want to be playing in the Championship?
“No, I assume no one wants to be playing in the Championship. It’s not what I came up here to do.”