Dundee manager Paul Hartley had no sympathy for Gary Harkins after the playmaker was sent off long after being substituted in his side’s defeat at Hamilton.
Hamilton 2-1 Dundee
Scorers: Hamilton - Andreu (3), Antoine-Curier (14);Dundee - Stewart (61)
Following a flare-up after a late challenge on a Dundee player right in front of the visitors’ bench, players from both sides became involved, and referee Alan Muir showed yellow cards to Hamilton striker Jason Scotland as well as Harkins, the latter then receiving a red card after being cautioned earlier in the match.
The incident came in the 90th minute, Harkins having left the field of play just before the hour.
With Dundee’s squad already stretched through a series of injuries, Hartley can ill-afford the suspension of his influential midfielder.
“He’s already on a yellow, and according to the referee it all kicked off from Gary’s aggressive approach to the situation, which doesn’t help us,” Hartley said.
“We’re not big on numbers, so having another player missing is not helping us whatsoever.
“He’s experienced enough to handle that situation, and I think he’s got to handle it better. Just don’t get involved, we’ve already got the free-kick. I’m a player down for next week, that’s why I’m disappointed, but we’ve just got to deal with what’s happened.”
With his squad looking threadbare in recent weeks, Hartley will try to boost numbers in the January transfer window, but only if he can get players of appropriate quality.
“We’ll try our best but that all comes down to the finances,” Hartley said. “We’ll probably need to get some players out before we can bring anybody in, and the players we’re bringing in have to be better than what we’ve got.
“I think January’s a hard market. It’s hard to get the right type of quality player in.”
It was a disappointing day all round for the Dundee manager, though his men might have snatched an undeserved point after Greg Stewart’s goal had dragged them back into the match.
“I’m not happy with the team,” he said. “We just didn’t perform the way that I know the players can perform. We were off it from the start to the finish, and you can’t afford to do that.
“The second half was a little bit better when Stewart came on, but overall, we need to be better in every department of the pitch.”
In contrast to Hartley’s dark mood, Hamilton player-manager Alex Neil was delighted to get back to winning ways as he tries to build on his side’s great start to the campaign.
Neil was particularly pleased with a stunning 14th-minute goal by Mickael Antoine-Curier. Following Tony Andreu’s third-minute header, it gave his side an early two-goal advantage.
When asked to describe the strike, Neil said: “Fantastic. Mickael pulls into that area quite a lot, but to catch it as sweetly as he caught it? To be fair to the goalkeeper, I thought he did really well to get anything on it at all, and he nearly kept it out, but just with the power and the technique that he’s hit it with, it’s ended up in the back of the net.”
It was suggested the goal was comparable to Marco van Basten’s famous strike for the Netherlands at Euro 88, but Neil said: “I don’t know if I would go as far as that, but I’m sure Mickael will be telling you that!
“But it’s a fantastic goal. The one thing we’ve had, especially at home, is that we’ve scored lot of goals and that’s another two today.”