Amid heightening financial concerns at Dunfermline, manager Jim Jefferies would have yearned for some welcome respite on the pitch. Instead, he cut a frustrated figure as his part-paid Pars lost ground in the title race.
Three points would have been a welcome fillip for the cash-strapped Fifers, not just in terms of keeping pace with league leaders Partick Thistle, but to banish some of the negativity which naturally emanates from only being able to pay staff 37 per cent of their monthly salaries, while being in arrears to HMRC and your energy supplier.
Jefferies, pictured, described the current financial situation as a “cloud” over the club. “It is not easy for them, and they are struggling with getting their wages in dribs and drabs,” he said. “Just turning up speaks volumes for these boys, but the performance they put in was terrific. They go about their job brilliantly. They have that cloud hanging over them, but they are doing the best they can, working so hard, and were unlucky not to win the match on Saturday.”
Having fallen behind, Andy Barrowman restored parity with a low drive on 33 minutes, following some marvellous build-up play from Craig Dargo. Josh Falkingham saw a decent effort saved and Jordan McMillan passed up two good opportunities. “It was frustrating, of course,” continued Jefferies.
“The players did everything to win the game. We were playing 4-2-4 at the end but just could not break through.”
It would be wrong to suggest Hamilton’s only concern was containment. Some of their attacking play, delivered in the form of sharp, slick counter-attacks, was superb.
This was perfectly illustrated with the opening goal on 17 minutes as Ali Crawford scampered onto a long pass before teeing up Stevie May.
With the hosts gung-ho in the second period, Jon Routledge struck the base of the post while Michal Hrivnak made a point-blank save to deny Gary Fisher.
“I thought some of our moves on the break were terrific,” said Accies manager Billy Reid. “If you look at the 90 minutes as a whole then I think we had the better chances.”