Accies media reporter Martin McConnell reports from our win at Paisley on Saturday…
Simple Digital Arena, New St Mirren Park, Paisley
Saturday 1st December 2018 at 3pm.
St. Mirren 1 Hamilton Academical 3
We increased the gap between over the bottom two sides after this 3-1 win away at St. Mirren Park. Goals from Dougie Imrie, Ziggy Gordon and James Keatings helped us go to within a point of Motherwell in ninth, five clear of the Buddies and eight ahead of Dundee just four days before the crunch match at Dens Park.
The home side started well but with the bulk of possession and plenty of intent, but failed in the last third. Accies grew into the game and went in front when Imrie headed in from a Keatings corner, then two up when Gordon stuck from close range, again from a Keatings delivery. The gloss was somewhat rubbed off the great start when McGinn scored on the stroke of half-time.
The early stages of the second half saw Accies weather a tough five minute spell where St. Mirren looked likely to level things. Instead, man of the match Keatings struck spectacularly into the top corner of the net to knock the fight out the Buddies and send all three points back up the road to Hamilton.
A delighted Martin Canning said, “We’re delighted with the result but think I’m more impressed with the performance. Obviously the result is a consequence of the performance and for us I thought we were positive, I thought we were aggressive when we didn’t have the ball. It was really pleasing because it was a big game for us to come and win here.
The whole intention for us this week was to come here and win, it wasn’t about being on our guard or try and stay above St. Mirren. It was about coming here and trying to win the game. We’ve managed to do that and obviously if you look at Keatsy and the quality of both deliveries and the goal too, then that’s the special kind of talent he can be.”
Accies made four changes to the side that faced Celtic, with Jan Mucha making his debut in place of Gary Woods and Darian MacKinnon (back from suspension), Fredrik Brustad, James Keatings replacing Delphin Tshiembe, Rakish Bingham and Tom Taiwo. The Buddies made no changes to the starting line-up that beat Hearts 2-0.
St. Mirren saw most of the ball in the opening ten minutes or so, until Hamilton began to look a bit more threatening after a few wayward shots on goal. Then on 21 minutes, James Keatings swung in a perfectly struck corner kick, Dougie Imrie got a head on the ball and sent it looping over the ‘keeper and in at the back post.
Keatings followed with a run on goal and shot wide of target as Accies took control. An action packed last five minutes of the half then saw Keatings play the ball through for Imrie to force a save from Rogers at the near post. Minutes later, Keatings put a dangerous free kick in to box where Gordon found himself with enough space to score from close range.
As the first half approached added on time it looked like Accies would take a two goal lead in to the second half. But that proved just too good to be true after Jan Mucha punched a corner clear of the penalty area. Erhahon headed back in, Stephen McGinn followed it’s flight, then turned, swung, hitting the ball through a crowded box low in to goal.
Second half chances weren’t in abundance but Mucha saved well from Jackson’s header, MacKinnon struck wide from thirty or so yards and Edwards wasn’t far off when he shot from a cleared free kick. Accies then had to survive a short spell of intense pressure before Keatings got on to the ball 25 yards from goal, hammering in to the top corner to seal the points.
Hamilton saw the game out comfortably enough, the Buddies unable to press anything home in the last third. The closest they came to getting back in the match was when Jones struck the crossbar from the edge of the Accies penalty area. But even then, they were already down to ten men after Jackson was shown a second yellow for a challenge on Ziggy Gordon.
St. Mirren: Rogers, P McGinn (Mullen 66), S McGinn, Magennis, Jackson, Baird, McShane (Edwards 34), Jones, Hodson, Erhahon, Hammill (Cooke 55). Subs Unused: Lyness, Smith, McPherson, Ferdinand.
Goals: S McGinn 45.
Cautions: S McGinn, Jackson
Red: Jackson (2nd yellow)
Accies: Mucha, McGowan, McMann, Gordon (Tshiembe 79), Kilgallon, Imrie, Keatings (Boyd 66), Miller, MacKinnon (c), Martin, Brustad (Bingham 71), Subs Unused: Woods, Taiwo, Bloomfield, Sowah.
Goals: Imrie 21, Gordon 42, Keatings 55.
Cautions: Martin, Gordon, McGowan.
Referee: Kevin Clancy. Assistants: Sean Carr & Stuart Stevenson. 4th Official: David Munro.