HAMILTON manager Alex Neil hailed his side’s defensive display in their 3-0 Scottish Premiership win over St Mirren at New Douglas Park, as his men cranked up the pressure on Saints manager Tommy Craig with a comfortable victory.
Hamilton Accies 3-0 St Mirren
Scorers: Hamilton Accies - Andreu (40), Antoine-Curier (67), Crawford (74)
Tony Andreu gave the home side the lead just before half-time and Mickael Antoine-Curier doubled the lead midway through the second half. Ali Crawford added a third soon after to wrap up a deserved three points.
The margin of the victory could easily have been more handsome for Neil’s men as they produced some fine attacking play, but he chose to single out the performance of his defenders, and returning captain Martin Canning in particular, for steadying the defensive ship after conceding four at Inverness last week.
“We had gone through something like 440 minutes without conceding a goal, but we had conceded quite a lot in recent weeks which was disappointing,” Neil said.
“We got back to making sure we were solid at the back, and albeit St Mirren tested us towards the end, I thought over the piece we looked relatively solid.
“(Canning) was hugely important. He’s the captain and one of the oldest players that we’ve got, and I thought he led from the back.
“I left him out last week for Inverness as the other two lads had done really well, but if you look at the squad we had today, I’ve left out Darian MacKinnon and Jon Routledge as well.
“So we’ve got a real quality group of players, and I just felt the team we put out today to win the game was the right team.”
Hamilton dominated possession in the match and looked much more like the side which had impressed so much in the opening stages of the season after faltering in recent weeks.
“The way we look at it is if we’ve got the ball and we’re attacking, they can’t attack us,” Neil said.
“That’s the way we play, we want to try and retain the ball as much as we can and we want to go and attack.
“That’s the ethos of the club and we’ve done that since day one.
“It’s not always going to work that way as we’ve found in recent weeks, but when it all clicks and the boys play well, we’re capable of going and beating anybody two or three nil.”
St Mirren manager Craig made four changes to his starting XI for Saturday’s game, including debuts for goalkeeper Mark Ridgers, and youngsters Jack Baird and Stevie Mallan as he tried to inject some life into his struggling side to no avail.
“The unfortunate thing is that we never got a foothold in the game, so they didn’t get the chance to show what they can do,” said Craig. “But I thought they performed manfully over the piece.”