Hamilton goal hero Darren Lyon comes back to bite Rangers

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Watching his young son grow up and mature into a promising footballer, James Lyon would have dreamed of seeing son Darren make history at Ibrox, though it’s safe to say Saturday’s events were not exactly what he had in mind.

The Hamilton Accies midfielder was a product of the Rangers academy system when he decided to take another route in his young career. Even though he was still in the under-15s at Auchenhowie, Lyon was forced into making a monumental decision when the New Douglas Park side enquired about his services. Stay and battle for a place in the youth sides, before eventually competing against millionaire players for a spot in the first team, or move to a place where he knew regular football would be obtainable.

Hamilton's Darren Lyon, second right, celebrates his goal against Rangers with his team-mates. Picture: SNS

Hamilton's Darren Lyon, second right, celebrates his goal against Rangers with his team-mates. Picture: SNS

If he ever had any regrets, and he insists he doesn’t, then they would have been wiped away as soon as the ball struck the back of the Rangers net.

Lyon’s goal, ten minutes from time, sealed his club’s first victory at Ibrox since 1987, and the first in the league since the 1920s. Sprinting through the centre he ran on to Greg Docherty’s low cross and fired low past Wes Foderingham, adding to David Templeton’s 47th-minute opener. His father James, a Rangers fan when his son isn’t lining up against them, was among the away support who lost their collective minds as Accies earned a victory which did not seem possible when the hosts were dominating the game in a one-sided first half.

“I thought Greg was going to shoot to be honest. I was trying to shout for the ball but I was knackered and didn’t think he would hear me,” said Lyon. “He cut it across and it landed perfectly because I didn’t need to break my stride. They were putting the pressure on and creating a few chances, so the goal killed the game.

“It is nice to come back and score but more importantly we got the three points. I wasn’t getting enough game time [at Rangers], I was pretty small and I was only getting half an hour here and there and I wanted to get out and play football. Hamilton came in for me and it was the best option because I knew they gave youngsters a chance and it’s paid off.

“I think I made the right decision to come to Hamilton. I needed to go out and play football. I don’t hold grudges or anything. My dad had chats with Rangers about me playing, but they are happy to see me playing football. Dad supports me, like all dads, but he is a Rangers fan.”

He would have been the only one leaving Ibrox with a smile on his face on Saturday. The hosts were much the better team in the first half but couldn’t find the breakthrough, with Alfredo Morelos passing up several chances in particular. Once they fell behind to Templeton’s goal, which came after a dreadful backpass from young centre-back Ross McCrorie, they lost confidence and composure on the ball, and in the end the final result was no surprise.

With no manager and the club yet to win three consecutive games in 2017, the media scrutiny will be back on the club with a vengeance. For midfielder Ryan Jack, the players need to stick together and play themselves out of another difficult period, regardless of whether they have a new boss or not. “It’s nothing to do with not having a manager, it’s to do with us on the pitch, the players. It’s totally our responsibility,” insisted Jack.

“We’ve had a chance today to go and beat Hamilton at home and put on another good performance, and I think in the first half we did that. We didn’t get the goal, fair enough, that happens, it’s football.

“I think when we lose the goal though there are ways to react and ways to respond, and I think we got a bit nervy and didn’t really trust each other on the pitch, and that’s what happens when that sneaks into your game.”

On Morelos’ wastefulness in front of goal, Jack added: “Alfredo is a good lad and we’re all here for each other. It’s not just Alfredo, we’ve had a disappointing result here and we all just have to stick together as a team.

“It’s important that we don’t come away from here blaming each other and falling out and arguing, it’s about sticking together and getting back into training, getting around each other and making sure we show a reaction.”