Accies web reporter Martin McConnell was with the media pack who spoke with Brian Rice after our win over St Johnstone on Wednesday night…
It was a good win Brian.
“Yes, absolutely. It was my first win as a head coach. You know, I said to the boys in the dressing room that I’d never forget tonight. I think that they deserved it. You know we put a lot of the balls in to the box, got up for second balls, played with a high energy and we were on the front foot. St. Johnstone had stages in the game where they caused us all sorts of problems and we dealt with it. They threw the kitchen sink at us in the end and we held on. I’m just delighted with the response I’ve had since I’ve come in.”
You’ve now established that you want the team to attack. In the two games so far, they’ve shown that they can face up to adversity and fight to the end. Just look at Ziggy Gordon’s tackle in injury time. I wonder if you’ve got a side that have quite a good fighting spirit despite the fact that things haven’t been going for them?
“I think Hamilton have always been renowned as having that spirit. I said that when I came in. I said that I always used to look at the fixtures to see when we were away at Hamilton and when they were at our place. I think that it’s got away from that a little bit and I want to get that back. I think the spirit that they’ve shown at both ends of the pitch has been fantastic. The game was too open for my liking in the first half, it was like a game of basketball. They attacked then we attacked. People were about to drop down with fatigue. So, we tweaked it a little at half time, made a change and it helped us out.”
Does that win mean a lot to you, your first win?
“It’s massive, it’s massive for me.”
Did you doubt yourself?
Aye, in the situation.
“Doubt myself, no. I don’t. I’ve got doubts but I don’t doubt myself. I’ve been in the game long enough. I’ve been in the game nearly forty years and been player, coach, whatever you want to call it. I’ve seen everything and I don’t think anything is going to surprise me now on the football field. I mean, Darian MacKinnon scored from twenty five yards on Saturday, you know. I’ve got things in my head that I want to do but I’ve not even been here a week. I want to do all these things and I want to do that. I’ve spoken to people like Jim Jefferies who told me to get in, settle down and build gradually. Great advice from great people and obviously from Yogi as well, don’t ever forget about Yogi with me.”
What does that win mean? You’re now six points clear of St. Mirren and three ahead of Dundee. It’s a huge boost.
“I’m a great believer in that if you start looking down the way, don’t start concentrating on them too much, just concentrate on ourselves. It’s easy to say, it’s dead easy for me to say, you know. But I’ve been a player and looked down the way myself. We need to get through this season as best we can. Trying to get to the end of the season with a spirit and learning to play the way I’d like us to play for next season. But I’m not looking too far ahead. I want to see us build gradually. I’ve just said to the boys in there that I was so proud of them. But the hard work really starts now as we haven’t got another game until a week on Saturday. Now I’ve got a chance to get on the training pitch with them for real, we’ve only scratched the surface.”
What about George Oakley and Steven Davies contribution tonight?
“George Oakley and Steven Davies were a handful all night. You know, it gives you a good out ball. I keep saying to the boys in there, when you bring a big boy on it’s like a magnet and they think they’ve got to get it up to his head. These big boys can take it in and link the game, getting people up towards them and people in support. So we’ve got to find a balance in how we’re going to play. I’ve only had two sessions with boys you know, and I must admit that they’re trying their best to put my ideas in to practice. Two or three ideas, that’s all it is. The boys deserve all the credit, they’re out there working their socks off. I’ve had them in morning, afternoon, morning, afternoon and that’s how it’s going to be. It’s a working environment, it’s not a holiday camp. I want them to come in and work hard and to enjoy it, and make the people of Hamilton proud of them. That’s my biggest thing. Win, lose or draw, I want the people of Hamilton to be proud of their team out there on the pitch. If you can get that message across please.”