Accies media reporter Mark Gillespie with his take from Saturday…
Almondvale Stadium, Livingston
Saturday 30th November 2019, 3pm
Livingston 0 Hamilton Academical 0
Neither set fans got much warmth from a winter stalemate which leaves us in 9th spot after results elsewhere. We’re still looking for our first league win since late September. On the plus side Brian Rice’s side are at least grinding out the points, with four draws in the last seven games. The Accies boss was happy with his side’s commitment at what has been a tough venue in recent times.
“Anybody can get beaten here, as the Celtic result proved. Livingston are a very good team. Any point you get here you’ve worked for. And my boys worked very hard today for the cause”, he said post-match.
“I’m delighted with the clean sheet, and we’re a point better off than this morning. I don’t think either keeper’s had too much to do today. Set plays here are vital. There a few chances from those at either end, but that was it.”
“We know Celtic will be very difficult on Wednesday. But we’ve got courage and determination. On the night if something goes your way and somebody does something special, you just never know.”
The head coach made two switches at either end of the pitch from last weekend. At the back Sam Stubbs returned from suspension to replace Jamie Hamilton. With Steve Davies having pulled a hamstring, George Oakley started up front alongside Marios Ogkmpoe.
Our last win had come against our opponents back in September. Gary Holt made the solitary change, with Keaghan Jacobs replacing Jack McMillan in the home line up. Livi were themselves looking for a first league win since defeating Celtic here in September.
It was to be a tough scrap, but the hosts enjoyed their best moments early on, almost breaking the deadlock. Steve Lawless fired just wide from the edge of the box on 11 minutes, before Luke Southwood came to rescue two minutes later, denying Lawless again, and the follow up from ex Accie Scott Pittman.
Livi even thought they had taken the lead on 16 minutes, as Jon Guthrie rose to head a corner of the inside of the right post. Appeals that it had crossed away were waved away by the referee.
It was to be fairly quiet at the other end. Accies sat and contained for most of the opening half hour. A couple of set piece opportunities came to nothing, but we struggled to get anything meaningful on target.
Our opponents were the side on the front foot, finding width and getting balls into the box. But Accies stood firm, a solid defence denying space and opportunities to Dykes and Lawless.
Our best opening of the half arrived two minutes from the break. Southwood went route one from a goal kick, Ogkmpoe getting a flick on to Oakley in behind the defence. But the Accies striker could only find Sarkic’s side netting.
Temperatures plummeted as the same pattern continued into the second half. The hosts continued to see more of the ball in an attacking sense. Southwood had to be alert on 52 minutes, stopping a deflected Robbie Crawford effort at the second attempt.
Lewis Smith had had a quiet game until he almost brought things to life on 76 minutes. It was a good take down on the right side of the Livi box, but he was just off target from 20 yards.
The home side were running out of ideas, with Lawless firing straight to make Southwood work on 80 minutes from just inside the box. Both sides in the end looked happy to settle for a share of the spoils, and escape those freezing conditions.
Livingston: Sarkic, Taylor-Sinclair, Lamie, Guthrie, Jacobs, Bartley, Crawford (Robinson, 60), Pittman, Lawson (Erskine, 68), Lawless, Dykes Subs Unused: Stewart, Sibbald, Souda, Odoffin, McMillan
Accies: Southwood, McGowan, McMann, Hunt, Oakley (Martin, 85), Miller, Gogic, Easton (c), Stubbs, L Smith, Ogkmpoe (Moyo, 63); Subs Unused: Fon Williams, Collar, Cunningham, Want,Hamilton
Bookings: Easton, 76
Referee: Willie Collum; Assistants: Kylie Cockburn and Graeme Leslie 4th Official: Lloyd Wilson
Attendance: 1076 (188 Accies)