Annan Athletic, of League Two, produced the greatest result in their history as they pulverised Premiership side Hamilton Academical in a remarkable Scottish Cup fourth-round tie at Galabank.
Jim Chapman’s team – 11/1 to win the match with bookmakers – struck early through Matty Flynn and barely looked back as they put the shellshocked Lanarkshire side to the sword in emphatic fashion. The result cranked up the pressure on Accies manager Martin Canning, who endured calls for his head from a disgruntled away support. It was the free-falling Premiership side’s fifth defeat in sixth games, but the real story of the day surrounded a bunch of devoted and fearless part-time players rejoicing in a relative giant killing.
“It would be remiss of me not to mention the fact that, after our game got called off at Berwick last weekend, all the players came back to Annan last Saturday night to train,” explained a proud Chapman. “For a bunch of guys to train from 5.30 until 8pm on a Saturday night shows the commitment they’ve got and they’ve got their rewards for that today. It’s probably the greatest result in our history. With all due respect to Hamilton, I thought we should have had the game finished by half-time. Some of these boys have got a chance to progress their careers, and I think they’ve demonstrated that. It was a magnificent performance.”
Annan went ahead with the first chance of the match when Flynn slotted past Michael McGovern from 12 yards out after being set up by Peter Weatherson. They almost doubled their lead a minute later when Weatherson’s low snapshot from just inside the box was blocked by the Accies keeper.
Hamilton’s Ali Crawford pinged a 25-yard free kick over the top after 17 minutes as they tried to find a response. But Annan threatened again when Peter Watson and Weatherson both tried to force in a Ryan Finnie free-kick. At the other end, Brazilian striker Alex D’Acol, making his first Accies start, headed over from a Crawford corner a minute later.
Annan should have doubled their lead in the 27th minute but Josh Todd shot agonisingly wide from the edge of the box after nicking the ball off Michael Devlin, back in the Accies side for the first time since sustaining a knee ligament injury last May, and bursting clean through on goal. Home keeper Jordan Hart had to make an excellent point-blank save to deny D’Acol a minute later.
Hamilton pair Eamonn Brophy and Greg Docherty both sent efforts past the post before Devlin headed a Crawford corner over as the visitors enjoyed a period of pressure.
Hamilton were booed off at the break, and their misery continued into the second half. Just two minutes after the restart Todd played a one-two with Weatherson before slotting past McGovern from just inside the box.
Hamilton were in deep trouble and their supporters hurled abuse at the players and Canning. But Docherty gave them a lifeline when he drilled home from close range in the 65th minute after being set up by Brophy. But Annan were in no mood for capitulation and just a minute later they restored their two-goal cushion when Rabin Omar forced home a loose ball from inside the box after a Todd effort had been blocked by McGovern.
Todd should have notched his second of the game just moments later, but he struck the post after a Weatherson free-kick fell to him two yards out. But the Galabank side soon found their fourth, in the 71st minute, when Omar lashed high into the net after Ryan Finnie’s free-kick broke kindly to him in the penalty area.