After another narrow defeat to one of the sides contesting the top half of the split, Accies boss Martin Canning, Darian MacKinnon and David Templeton shared their thoughts with Mark Gillespie.
Was that a sore one today?
“It is a sore one again. It’s frustrating because first half I thought we were good. I thought we ended the half strongly and we probably should have scored with one of the opportunities we had before the break. And we don’t take them. Then second half again, nothing in the game. It was the same as Rugby Park and we don’t do our job for a set piece. We lose a man from a set piece and it’s the way they scored against Partick Thistle last week. We spoke about it through the week. Look at their first goal against us and it’s the same. They are such a strange team, they’ve been great, they’ve done great but there is never much in the games when you play them. I’ve been to watch them and been involved in as well, but they’ve got that belief and momentum that they win games. We get it back to 1-1 and you think right, let’s settle down now and try and win the game now. Then we don’t defend our box and we leave Kris Boyd standing in the middle of the six-yard box by himself, and that’s criminal. And that’s why we are where we are, because we’re not defending at the back end of the pitch with defending like that.”
You say that they’re playing with confidence and belief but it’s five without a win now.
“Yes, it’s five without a win for us. But I was looking and saying the other day, I think since Christmas, Kilmarnock are top of the table, Hibs are second and Celtic are third. We’ve played all three of them in the last four games. And obviously in two of them we’ve been down to ten men, away to Hibs and home to Celtic which makes it even more difficult. And both Kilmarnock games could have gone either way. We’ve lost the games, but it wasn’t as if we’ve been out played or out fought, it’s just been a case that both games have gone against us. There’s not a lot for the boys to be down about, but we’ve got to do more for sure. We’ve got to go and beat Partick Thistle next week which is going to be a huge game.”
If you win there that would take you more or less eight points clear with four games left to go.
“See to be honest, I’m not even thinking about that I’m just thinking about winning the game. I’m not thinking about what’s going to be enough and what’s going to be what. The run we’re on the now, we need to dust ourselves down and need to know the importance of that game and go there and win and see where we are after it.”
It was a difficult first half, but you finished well with those three good chances.
“Yes, I felt that we came into things in the last ten minutes of the half. We started on sort of even terms then they took control of things. ”
Second half, more of a contest but they took their chances.
“That’s the difference. We’re getting the chances and maybe not taking them and we’re giving away criminal goals at this level. I’m running out of hair, but it makes me want to pull the rest out when I see it happening. You can’t leave a guy of Kris Boyd’s quality in your six-yard box on his own, it’s just poor from us.”
You’ve played the three form sides in the league over the past four games. Although you’ve been under the cosh at times in some of these, you’ve not given away much and lost by very fine margins.
“That’s right. There’s not been too much in them to be fair. But we really need to start coming out on top in some of these scrappy games. And try and get the fine margins to go our way. It’s just so frustrating, especially just after the game.”
Your heart must have sunk when that second goal went in, especially after getting back in the game with Templeton’s goal?
“It did, because I was thinking that if anyone was going to win it then it was going to be us. That’s just the way we’ve been going just now in the last few games. If there is going to be a mistake made in a game, then it’s generally us that has made them and that’s very annoying.”
But heads up and ready to go again in the last five games?
“Of course. We’ve been here before and we know what we’re doing. We’ll pick ourselves up and get ready to go again.”
That result just shows you how things can turn.
“It doesn’t half. It’s frustrating after we got ourselves back into the game. Then we give away a stupid goal again. I don’t know how Boydy, one of the all time leading scorers, has got into the six-yard box by himself and score. So, yes, it’s really frustrating in a game that was massive for us and thought we could take points from. Yes, very disappointing.”
He’s the last person that you want to let loose inside the six-yard box.
“Exactly, you know that if he gets a chance, especially six yards out, then he is going to take it. It’s something that you just can’t give him is that space. It’s very disappointing that it’s happened.”
You must have thought that you could get a bit of momentum after that goal and go on and win it?
“Yes, definitely. The goal goes in and then obviously the boys get a lift and feel like they can get three points from it rather than taking the draw. But as I say, we end up killing ourselves and give away a silly goal.”
Was that your first touch of the match?
“I think it was, yes, but I’m not sure if I’ll get it or not. Hopefully I can. If Harry Kane can get that header then I want that one.”
What’s the feeling like in the dressing room just now?
“They’re just deflated. That’s the thing, we get ourselves in to good positions to go and get the three points, then give away a silly goal. It’s a sore one to take but we’ve got five massive games ahead of us now that we’ll have to pick ourselves up for and hopefully take points from. Especially the next two games against sides below us, if we can do that then we’ll be in a good position going in to the last three.”
Three points today would have made one hell of a difference going into the split.
“Yes, of course. We knew it was a massive game for us and would give us a bit more of a gap against the teams below us. So that’s why it has been so frustrating after getting back to 1-1 and not going on to try and win it.”