Hamilton, having been widely predicted to go down before a ball was kicked, erased any lingering threat of that happening with this decisive win which preserved their Premiership status.
Martin Canning’s side, whose 4-0 defeat at the hands of second-bottom Kilmarnock just the week before had cast a cloud over their immediate future, rallied in style to ensure they can no longer become dragged into a play-off after defeating Dundee at Dens Park.
An early goal from Carlton Morris, their on-loan Norwich City striker, moved them seven points above rivals Kilmarnock with two games left and earned them a third season in the top-flight to look forward to.
It was tense day on Tayside, which could have been less so for the visitors had Eamonn Brophy’s 47th-minute strike not been chopped off for offside. It was the three points, though, which mattered most and for manager Canning it was a case of job done.
“I’m so proud of the players,” he said. “There have been times when it’s been difficult but they’ve continued to believe in themselves and I’ve believed in them.
“At the start of the season our aim was to stay in the league.
“We had a good start which I said to the players at the time was crucial to the end goal of staying up.”
Dundee had been buoyed by their last-gasp 2-1 win over Dundee United which relegated their city rivals on Monday, but there was a markedly different atmosphere inside the ground on this occasion. And they found themselves behind after only eight minutes.
Dundee defender Kostadin Gadzhalov was caught out by Ziggy Gordon’s through pass and Morris ran through to steady himself before sending a left-foot shot across Scott Bain and into the corner of the net.
There was controversy within two minutes of the restart when Hamilton appeared to have gone further ahead. Brophy got in behind the Dundee defence and forced a shot under Bain before celebrating what he thought was the equaliser, and the hosts even returned the ball to the centre-spot.
But there were claims for offside so referee Steven McLean consulted his assistant referee, Graham Chambers, to be advised Brophy had stepped into an offside position, so his effort was disallowed – much to the visitors’ annoyance.
Dundee weren’t out of it and with 11 minutes remaining Hemmings went on a solo run before unleashing a 20-yard shot which McGovern tipped over the bar.
Paul Hartley, the Dundee manager, must now lift his side for the midweek visit of Kilmarnock to Tayside in their pursuit of seventh place. “We’ve no complaints about the result,” said Hartley afterwards.
“It was just a flat performance. It’s disappointing because it was a vital game for us.
“Possibly all the emotion from the other night came into it, but we just didn’t perform compared to the levels which we set ourselves in Monday night’s game.”