Dens Park, Dundee
19th December 2015
Dundee 4 Hamilton Academical 0
Hamilton were devastated in part by a magnificent first half performance from the Dens Park side, and by an equally inept display at the back. A hat trick from the rampant Kane Hemmings and a Greg Stewart strike, dropped us into eighth place, one point behind Dundee and Partick Thistle.
Accies in the first half could neither retain possession long enough to create anything useful, or deal with the long aerial balls being sent into the heart of their defence. At times making it look like Stewart, Harkins and especially Hemmings, could score at will.
The second half was almost, but not quite a complete turnaround. Hamilton dominated in possession, helped by the appearance of Gramoz Kurtaj in the second half, who was able to hold the ball and giving Accies the breathing space they could have done with in the first half.
With that said, they still weren’t able to create in and around the penalty area, other than shots from distance and making their efforts null and void. Dundee fully deserved their win, despite their Jekyll and Hyde performance on either side of half time.
Manager Martin Canning made only the one change to the side beaten by Ross County last weekend, with Greg Docherty coming into midfield for Gramoz Kurtaj who had not been feeling 100% in the lead up to the match. Paul Hartley made three changes, with Konrad coming in for the injured Etxabeguren, Harkins for Loy and Holt replacing McGinn.
The first few minutes were marked by deep aerial balls from both sides, unfortunately it was Accies that were caught out by one on four minutes. Irvine’s clearance sailed high into the Hamilton half, and the mistimed nod back to Michael McGovern was nicked by Hemmings and slipped into the net, 1-0.
Moments later Accies failed to deal with another long ball, leaving Hemmings to pick up and deliver to Stewart at the back post, luckily McGovern was on hand to save his headed attempt. Stewart then turned provider for Hemmings, heading on goal, McGovern saved again.
Harkins then curled a shot wide of the post from 25 yards, before Dundee grabbed a second. Harkins made a powerful run through the midfield, matching his pass to Stewart’s run, he then cut inside and curled the ball beyond the reach of McGovern and into the net, 2-0.
Whilst still reeling a third was conceded, Stewart played through to the edge of the Accies penalty area, the ball wasn’t dealt with, and once again Hemmings pounced to slot into the net, 3-0. Yet another long ball was met with an attempted lob from Hemmings, but McGovern touched over the cross bar for a corner kick.
Hamilton were four down with only 25 minutes on the clock, when the ball was sent forward to Hemmings. He went one way then the other, leaving both centre backs in his wake, then struck past Michael McGovern from 18 yards, 4-0.
Accies rallied, with Kurtaj coming on at the start of the second half for Greg Docherty and adding something they missed in the first. They held the ball, passing it about with some confidence, then a couple of moves were finished well with shots on target from Ali Crawford.
Accies improved performance was getting to the home support, every decent move and perceived slight on a Dundee player, was met with a growing sense of disdain. Gramoz Kurtaj laying on for another Ali Crawford strike with a nicely timed back heel, not helping matters any.
We were then awarded a free kick 35 yards from the Dundee goal, Jesus Garcia Tena stepped up and struck the ball fizzing low past the post. Dougie Imrie then gave the Dundee defence the run around, taking a somewhat circular route to goal before striking from 30 yards, Bain saved comfortably.
Dundee had a free kick just on the edge of the Hamilton penalty area, the shot was struck well but McGovern matched it by touching over cross bar. As the match approached full time, Carlton Morris gathered a loose ball, turned and struck narrowly wide from 20 yards.
Disappointed but circumspect Accies boss Martin Canning said after the match “If we were going to defend like that, we were always going to find it difficult, you’d struggle to win in a pub league playing like that, never mind in the Premiership. It’s easy to see where the mistakes have been made and its individual errors, in the first half, as a team we didn’t pick up enough second balls. The second half was completely different, all being that we’re four goals down, we were well in the game without getting a goal to get us back in. First half was really disappointing and when you concede goals like that, there’s not a lot you can actually do.
“I don’t think it was pace that got us, I just think it was a poor reading of the game, regardless of how fast or slow you are, if you don’t read the game properly and don’t drop back when you should, you won’t get done in behind. I don’t think anyone gets squared up and he just ran past them, it was purely down to us not reading the game and if you defend like that it’s almost impossible to win games.
“You’ve just got to chalk it down, there’s not a lot you can do about it, I said to the boys just there, when it’s done it’s done, you can’t affect the result now, all we can do is work hard through the week and improve next week. I think when you look at it, Jamie’s a young lad with only a few games and he has been excellent for us in the last three or four matches that he has played and he’ll just have to put that down to experience. I’ll speak to him, I’ve said it to quite a few, to be a successful footballer at any level, it’s not how you play when you’re playing well, it’s easy to cruise through a game when it’s going well. It’s how you react when you’re having a bad game, and as far as Jamie is concerned, we will just have to make sure that he reacts properly and that he bounces back from it.
“It was the right thing to do, bringing him off, I left him on the park to see if he could recover from it and he didn’t, that’s part of the process and where you get to as a footballer is about dealing with things like this. It’s not when somebody pats you on the back and says well done son, it’s easy to cruise through, but when you have a bad game and you struggle and get taken off, this tests you’re character and judges where you’ll go in the game.”
Dundee: Bain, Irvine (McGinn 58), Holt, Konrad, McPake, Stewart, Low, Thomson (Ross 39), Hemmings (Loy 78), McGowan, Harkins. Subs Unused: Mitchell, Calder, Gadzhalov, Skelly.
Goals: Hemmings 4,20, 25,Stewart 18.
Accies: McGovern (c), Gordon, Kurakins, Gillespie, Imrie, Crawford, Morris (Brophy 81), Sendles-White (Garcia Tena 26), MacKinnon, Docherty (Kurtaj 45), Tagliapietra. Subs Unused: Martin, Longridge, Nade, Boyd.
Referee: Don Robertson Assistants: Graham Chambers & Stephen Mitchell 4th Official: John Beaton