Media team representative Mark Gillespie with Wednesday’s details….
at Victoria Park, Dingwall
Wednesday 12th May; 2021, kick off 7.45pm
Ross County 2 Hamilton Academical 1
Charlie Lakin’s second half winner means we need a big win on Sunday to stay in Scotland’s top division after a club record seven successive post WW2 seasons. We might still draw level on points with Kilmarnock but Sunday’s opponents are 18 goals better off on goal difference.
Scott McMann netted his first league goal for us, his three previous strikes were all in cup ties (Edinburgh City, Clyde and Annan).
Accies battled all the way to the last. There was brief hope in the first half as Scott McMann swept a free kick home for the opener, but Blair Spittal levelled straight away. Sub Lakin then delivered the killer blow from outside the box with 20 minutes left.
Brian Rice will soon turn his thoughts to next season. For now, the head coach shares the pain felt by every Accies fan.
“The players are devastated and the fans will be too. We’re all one big family at Hamilton. We’re all hurting. I hope the fans appreciate that we gave it absolutely everything. It just wasn’t to be”, he said post-match.
“We came here to have a go. We just never had that bit of luck on the night. Ross Callachan’s hit the post at one each. I think Ross County have only had a couple of attempts at goal and scored with both. To not even take a draw from the game is absolutely devastating.”
“We’ve been in the Premier League for the past 7-8 years, so the disappointment’s immense. I thought Jamie Hamilton was the best player on the park tonight. If we can hang on to a few players next year we’ll embrace the championship.
Brian Easton returned to captain the side in Dingwall, the sole change from victory in Paisley 10 days ago. The hosts meanwhile named the same side which won at Tannadice to maintain that three point gap on Accies.
A frantic opening showed just how much this meant. There were cards for both sides inside three minutes but little goalmouth action for the opening 25 minutes. That was all to change suddenly as Jason Naismith fouled Scott McMann inches outside the County box on 25 minutes. McMann got up and swept low through the defensive wall past an unsighted Ross Laidlaw for the opener. His first Accies league goal.
It was short lived hope as County struck straight back two minutes later with their first effort. A high ball up to Jordan White broke to Spittal on the edge of the box to rattle first time low past Gourlay.
Accies stayed positive and probably shaded the rest of the half. McMann and Callachan were getting into attacking areas and Callachan came so close to restoring the lead on the half hour. Nicking the ball from Michael Gardyne he burst through the midfield, but his shot hit the outside of the post.
Clear chances were few and far between though. After quick link up play with Moyo three minutes from the break the Accies top scorer flashed a dangerous first time ball across goal but with no takers in the box.
As half time news from Kilmarnock filtered through both sides sensed the need to go for the three points. Accies continued with no fear for one last 45, but there wasn’t that cutting edge up front. Instead McMann even popped up in the centre forward role unchallenged on 51 minutes but could only head Lee Hodson’s cross from the right over the bar.
He drove forward in his more familiar role to cross to for Callachan at the near post on 60 minutes, but the top scorer couldn’t control his header overt the bar. It was to be our last real chance in the game.The hosts had been quiet, Hamilton and Martin just about dealing with the physical presence of White at the other end. The big moment arrived out of nowhere on 70 minutes. Lakin picked the ball upon the corner of the box, and with no Accies defender pushing out had time to drive low into Gourlay’s far corner from the angle the box.
There were 20 minutes left to rescue things. We threw new faces on but couldn’t find that final ball. Instead Harry Paton might have extended the home lead in the closing stages, as things opened up but could only find the side netting.
Ross County: Laidlaw, Naismith, Hjelde (Lakin, 65), Iacovitti (Watson, 54), Donaldson, Kelly, Tilson, Vigurs, White, Gardyne (Paton, 86), Spittal (Charles-Cook, 86); Subs Unused:Hilton, Draper, Andreu, Hylton, Shaw
Goals: Spittal, 27, Lakin, 69
Booking: Kelly, 3, Vigurs, 88
Accies: Gourlay, Odoffin, McMann, Easton (c) (Thomas 74), Hamilton, Anderson (C Smith 78 ), A Martin, Mimnaugh (L Smith 78 ), Moyo, Hodson, Callachan ;SubsUnused: Stirling, Trafford, Stanger, Munro, Redfern, J Smith
Goal: McMann, 25
Bookings: A Martin, 1, Callachan, 20
Referee: Willie Collum; Assistants: David McGeachie; Frankie Connor 4th Official: Alan Muir