Second game of the season and Accies media website reporter Mark Gillespie was here at Foys Stadium for our first home elague game of the season…
Foys Stadium, New Douglas Park, Hamilton
Saturday 8th August 2020 at 3pm
Hamilton Academical 0 Ross County 1
Billy McKay’s late strike settled a scrappy home opener to maintain the visitors’ perfect start to the new season. Accies meanwhile prop up the table, after a frustrating afternoon for Brian Rice and his players.
“I didn’t think there was a lot in it. One goal was going to win it, and Ross County got the goal. I don’t know if either of us did enough to win it, but they’ve taken their chance after a mistake by us”, he commented post match.
“I think David Moyo’s headed the ball out of Ryan Fulton’s hands for the goal. If you put the ball into the box there’s always the chance of a mistake. Billy McKay took his chance well. I know he can do that.”
“We need to be more streetwise and play to our strengths. When we lost the goal we just wanted to get it forward as quick as possible. We brought Templeton and Johnson on who are better with it to feet but never got them involved. We panicked a bit.”
We made two changes from last weekend, Markus Fjortoft replacing Jamie Hamilton in defence. Callum Smith came in for his first league start in place of the injured Ronan Hughes. Our opponents were meanwhile unchanged from the side which defeated Motherwell on Monday night.
Even this early on it was a big three points at stake. In thechallenging new football environment and summer heat, both sides to their credit set out at a decent tempo.
Accies were to pass up a host of set piece opportunities, flooding the County box from the off. David Moyo was on the end of a first high ball through, flicking on for Winter, who just couldn’t control his shot on 2 minutes.
We looked vulnerable to County breaks, sat deep with Ross Stewart and Billy McKay linking up well in the attacking third. It was the visitors who went on to pose the early danger.
McKay forced a first save from Ryan Fulton on 6 minutes, low at his near post, before the Accies ‘keeper showed even better reactions a minute later. Harry Paton set up Lee Erwin 5 yards out from the left, but the Accies ‘keeper spread himself superbly to block.
Hakeem Odofin nodded a McMann corner just wide on 13 minutes as we sought openings of our own. We started to look better on the front foot, forcing a series of set pieces but not finding the killer delivery.
Callum Smith was the biggest Accies threat from open play, with a powerful low effort saved by Laidlaw at his near post on 26 minutes. The County keeper tipped behind another near post Smith effort five minutes from the break.
The loss of Smith to tactical at half time altered our attack. It was a first half that could have gone either way, but the visitors seemed to improve as the game went on.
McKay was the man to watch, giving the Accies defence the slip on 61 minutes to set up Ross Stewart six yards out. Accies breathed a sigh of relief as his low shot came off the left post.
One goal for either side looked like being enough. McKay knocked down a Mullin cross on 72 minutes but a couple of minutes later, Fulton to the Accies rescue with Gardyne ready to pounce.
The big moment arrived on 75 minutes, as Fulton didn’t properly clutch a Vigurs cross into the box, impeded by Moyo, and McKay was on hand to drive past Fulton at the second attempt.
Accies huffed and puffed, making five substitutions. But we never really got going in the second half. On a day of disappointing deliveries into the box, McMann finally swung in some quality late on. Moyo leapt well, but headed straight at Laidlaw to sum up a disappointing day for his side.
Accies: Fulton, Odofin, McMann (c) , Martin, C Smith (Trafford, 45), Want (Hamilton, 81), Fjortoft, Winter (Templeton, 76), Moyo, L Smith (Johnson, 81), Callachan (Owalabi, 84);Subs Unused: Gourlay, McKenna,Mimnaugh, Munro
Ross County: Laidlaw, Randall, McKay (Charles-Cook, 81), Erwin (Mullin, 62), Vigurs, Iacovitti, Tillson (Gardyne, 62), Paton (Draper, 81), Donaldson, Stewart, Reid; Subs Unused:Doohan, Morris, Shaw, Watson, Kelly
Goal: McKay, 75
Bookings: Vigurs, 90
Referee: Bobby Madden, Assistants: John McCrossan and Michael Banks 4th Official: Barry Cook