Web reporter Martin McConnell was with the press pack when they spoke with Sam Kelly after Saturday’s defeat to Hearts….
You made a terrific start and were on top after fifteen, twenty minutes before getting the goal.
“Yes, I think first half and second half there was some good passages of play from us. We created some chances and like you say, got the goal. I think our objective then was to shut up shop for the next five and try and make it to half time. We came up against a very experienced Hearts team and they’ve got a few players with some mileage in them, and they do what they do and they’re back in the game. It’s one we’re going to have to learn from and take in to the derby.”
What did the manager say afterwards?
“He said that it was a tough one to take. Similar to what I’m saying really. We had spells in the game where we were on top but basic mistakes ruined it. Concentration, something the Hearts team have on us you know. They’re experienced heads, they’re always concentrating and it’s something we’ll have to learn from.”
They played well up front, Naismith, MacLean and Ikpeazu as well were all a handful to deal with.
“They’ve got a lot of mileage in them. Naismith obviously played at the top level and Ikpeazu I know from my time down south. He’s very physical and when he’s on his day, like I feel he was today, then he’s a tough one to deal with.”
How are you finding it at the club so far?
“Yes, I’m really enjoying my time. Obviously my first experience of league football today and it’s one I’ll take a lot from and take in to next weekend.”
Am I right in saying you were up here before at Rangers?
“Nearly, but they were going through their financial issues that they had. I was close to signing but it broke down.
Did you come up to train?
“Yes, I was there for about six weeks and I thought that there was a deal there but it broke down. Everything for a reason.”
Were you without a club?
“Yes, I’d just left Everton. There were links there with Ally and he got me through and in to training. It broke down though and like I say, everything for a reason.”
Were you offered a contract?
“It was in talks and it’s not something that I’d like to focus on really. I’m here now and I just want to dedicate all my time to Hamilton and try to get us up the league table.”
Was it a disappointment at the time? Did you fancy coming up to Scotland?
“The Scottish League is a massive league. You know, I’m under no illusion and it’s a very hard league. It’s one that I’ve wanted to test myself in and I’ve learned a lot today. I’ll have to learn quickly and take that into the Motherwell game. I’m looking forward to the season, today being one of them. So, yes, I’m just looking to learn from this.”
You mentioned that you played against Ikpeazu down south. He’s maybe an unknown quantity to fans in Scotland. What can they expect from him?
“More of what you saw today. He’s very physical and on his day he can be a handful. When he’s not on his day he can be a nightmare, he’s one of them. He came in on loan when I was at Port Vale, so I’ve played a little bit with him and he’s a bit hit or miss. We’ve done a bit of research on him during the week and he seems to be plying his trade very well. It’s one where other clubs will have to look out for.”