Encouraging omens greet Accies as McCarthy inspires Pittodrie triumph

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Aberdeen 1 Hamilton 2

THIS was Hamilton Academical's first win at Pittodrie since the early 1930's, a time when an unpopular Scottish Labour Prime Minister was in trouble with his party during a global financial crisis.

Gordon Brown needs no reminding of what happened to Ramsey McDonald all those years ago but Accies supporters will be more encouraged to know their team survived another 17 years in the top flight after that last victory at the venue.

Of course the Lanarkshire club's first priority is to make sure they remain for more than the single season that marked their last two elevations to the top division back in the eighties and the early signs are encouraging.

Even the loss of a quick Gary McDonald goal failed to dent the confidence of a side that had lost their two previous league matches as they gradually imposed themselves on opponents seemingly riddled with self doubt whenever they perform in front of their home fans.

David Graham equalised nine minutes from the interval with the sweetest of volleys and James McCarthy claimed the winner in 58 minutes, showing strength of body and purpose to brush aside a dithering Andrew Considine to force the ball beyond Jamie Langfield.

It was the introduction of the latter at the expense of Tony Stevenson just before Graham's leveller that proved the pivotal moment as far as Hamilton manager Billy Reid is concerned.

That makes it the more laudable then that Reid will make the same decision again about where the highly promising 17-year-old starts a game to make sure McCarthy's potential is realised regardless of the needs of the team.

Someone who made his debut for Hamilton a day shy of his 16th birthday played in the Republic of Ireland under-21 side's 2-2 draw against Portugal in Funchal last midweek. However it's impressive progress that his manager knows needs careful nurturing.

Reid said: "People forget he is only 17 and he will mature into an excellent footballer as he is almost there already, but it is my job to make sure that he does not get burned out.

"If that happens there is no way back which is why we decided to give him a rest after playing for his country over in Portugal during the week.

"He understands why he was left out at the start but it didn't last as long as we expected as he came on, had a big influence on the game and popped up with the winner.

"It will be a relief for him to get his first SPL goal. He scored seven times last season, which is a good return for a midfielder, but there is more to come from him and we will handle him the right way to make sure of that."

Reid could be equally pleased with the debut of experienced central defender Martin Canning as the player released by Hibs was outstanding as the key figure in protecting Tomas Cerny.

The Czech Republic goalkeeper had few direct shots to deal with and nearly denied McDonald his first goal for Aberdeen only for the ball to narrowly cross the line in seven minutes.

At that stage the Dons looked like progressing to a straight forward home win with Sone Aluko giving Simon Mensing nightmares with his pace and delivery from the left wing on his return from Birmingham City following a 70,000 transfer deadline day deal.

Instead, poor defending by Richard Foster for Graham's goal and Considine's culpability over McCarthy's winner made it one point out of nine at home this season with bottom of the table Dundee United due to visit for this Saturday's early kick off.

Manager Jimmy Calderwood was characteristically frank in his summation when he said: "It was a massive disappointment for everyone. We started the game very brightly and got the goal, then stopped completely.

"I have said before there are high expectation levels at Pittodrie and they will have to handle it."