This morning’s Premiership table won’t make happy reading for Hamilton player-manager Martin Canning. Following yesterday’s heavy defeat at Pittodrie, Accies are now just five points clear of 11th-placed Kilmarnock and nine ahead of bottom club Dundee United.
Both Killie and United picked up points at the weekend and they both have a game in hand over Hamilton. If they’re not careful, Canning’s men are going to get dragged right into the relegation dogfight.
While understandably disappointed with his players’ performance – especially in a one-sided first half – Canning was nevertheless upbeat after the Aberdeen game. He is confident that they will pick up form and pick up the points required to play at least another season in the top flight.
“That was always going to be the toughest of our remaining seven fixtures,” said Canning after the trip to Pittodrie. “Our remaining six games are against five of the bottom six clubs and also at home to Dundee this coming Saturday. There will be no problem lifting the players’ spirits for that one because they have bounced back from disappointments before.”
Canning was disappointed with the way his side capitulated, the game as good as over by half-time. “We didn’t start the game well,” he said.
“It was an issue for us when we went to Celtic Park [when they lost 8-1 in January], and it’s been the same again today.
“When you come up against players of the quality of Hayes, McLean and McGinn, the last thing you want to do is give away an early goal.
“I’m very angry with the first-half performance. We switched off and conceded two soft goals and we didn’t respond to it. We were far better in the second half. We responded better and were competing better and will take the positives from that improved second half but, by then, the damage was done.”
Canning admitted his gamble in handing former Swansea and Crystal Palace man Kemy Agustien a debut backfired, the Dutchman having not played since lining up in the Danish First Division at the tail end of last year.
“I saw it would be a difficult game and I thought he could get on the ball and give us a platform to build from rather than turning the ball over again and again. He took a knock, but I was going to make a change anyway as the gamble didn’t really work,” he said.