Dundee 0 - 2 Hamilton: Dees plunged into relegation play-off spot

Michael Devlin celebrates Hamilton's second goal. Pic: SNS/Ross Parker
Michael Devlin celebrates Hamilton's second goal. Pic: SNS/Ross Parker
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Paul Hartley, the Dundee manager, was remaining defiant despite stinging criticism in the wake of their seventh consecutive Ladbrokes Premiership defeat.

Hamilton chalked up their first away win of the season at Dens Park, leaving Dundee to slip into that precarious second-bottom play-off spot as pressure mounts on Hartley. Dundee could even face rivals Dundee United in an end-of-season play-off and that dreaded prospect appears more genuine with each passing week.

Dundee's Tom Hatley in action against Hamilton's Scott McMann. Pic: SNS/Ross Parker

Dundee's Tom Hatley in action against Hamilton's Scott McMann. Pic: SNS/Ross Parker

Here they capitulated once more as Alex D’Acol’s penalty midway through the first half and Michael Devlin’s 84th-minute header piled yet more misery on the Tayside club who have five crucial post-split games left to stave off the threat of relegation.

“It’s a major blow for us,” conceded Hartley afterwards.

“We’re trying to find a way to win a game and we’re not doing it just now. We’re not quite good enough. I can understand the fans booing. If you’re on a run like we are the first thing they’ll come for is the manager. I’ll handle that though.

“Of course we’re concerned. It’s alarming and I’m not painting a picture to say everything is great. When you’re losing games it does affect players. But they have to be brave and fight for their survival and for the club.”

Dundee made a positive enough start. Faissal El-Bakhtaoui set Marcus Haber free down the right but the Canadian’s cross couldn’t pick out a team-mate.

A few moments later, Haber then got clear of Hamilton skipper Devlin but his low shot was saved by Remi Matthews.

In 17 minutes the hosts ought to have given themselves some breathing space. Tom Hateley’s cross seemed perfect for Haber but the striker somehow seemed to misjudge the flight of the ball and failed to make contact with the goal at his mercy.

Hamilton duly went ahead in 22 minutes.

Hateley was judged to have brought down Dougie Imrie and referee John Beaton pointed to the spot. Up stepped D’Acol, the Brazilian forward, who calmly struck a well-taken penalty into the corner of the net to leave keeper Scott Bain helpless.

The second-half started with El-Bakhtaoui firing a low shot towards goal which Matthews did well to hold at the second attempt, while Hamilton’s Darian MacKinnon released goal-scorer D’Acol but his shot struck the side netting.

Hamilton sealed victory in 84 minutes. Substitute Danny Redmond’s deep corner was met by Devlin and he stooped to plant a header past Bain from a few yards to leave Dundee just five points ahead of bottom-club Inverness.

“It’s a huge three points,” stated Martin Canning, the Hamilton manager. “We actually spoke about the away record during the week although I don’t normally discuss things like that.

“We’ve drawn far too many games and sometimes we’ve conceded late but that’s the importance of the second goal. The only criticism is that we could have scored a couple more goals but I’m not going to be greedy.”