Hamilton win at United ‘vital’ ahead of Celtic clash

Ziggy Gordon admits victory over Dundee United at Tannadice on Saturday was vital ahead of this week’s clash with Ladbrokes Premiership leaders Celtic.

Ziggy Gordon, second left, is mobbed by his Accies team-mates. Picture: SNS Group

After Gavin Gunning’s own goal had cancelled out Billy Mckay’s first-half opener for the home side, the Accies right-back’s first goal of the season ended the Lanarkshire side’s six-match winless streak.

Gordon was delighted to take his career goal tally to four and secure three important points ahead of Saturday afternoon’s trip to Parkhead.

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“It is a monkey off our back, especially with us going to Celtic next week,” said the 22-year-old.

“It was paramount that we got a result here. We didn’t go there for a draw, that’s for sure. We went to win the game and we did and everyone is delighted.”

Accies player-manager Martin Canning says they “have played better in games and not won”, but Gordon believes that is to Hamilton’s credit.

“That’s the sign of a good team,” he said. “Celtic are top of the league but they don’t play well every single game but they get results. The best teams in the world get results when they don’t play well.

“I am not saying we are a world-class team, far from it, but we are a team that, when the chips are down, won’t give up.”

Canning shrugged off the unhappiness that midfielder Dougie Imrie displayed when he was replaced by Alex D’Acol in the second half with Accies trailing 1-0 – a substitution which had a very small band of the travelling fans shouting “you don’t know what you’re doing”.

“It can be disappointing,” the Hamilton player-manager said. “They expect high standards, they want to win and it is their team.

“Dougie has got five goals and is our top scorer, but I am my own man, I have my own mind and I will always make decisions based on what I think is the right thing to do with the team.

“I told Dougie it was nothing personal. He has been one of the outstanding players this season, but it was a difficult shape to play against, a 3-4-2-1, and I wanted to go two up and play two against their three.

“I wanted to go with Alex D’Acol and Carlton Morris up top and give them more problems. Everything I do will always be done with thought and thankfully it has come off.”

It certainly did come off. Mckay’s 29th-minute drive had put United in the driving seat but things turned when Ali Crawford’s corner from the left was headed into his own net by Gunning. And Accies took all three points when Crawford’s blocked shot fell to Gordon and he swiftly knocked it into the net for something of a smash-and-grab winner 11 minutes from time.

United have now won just once in seven games since Mixu Paatelainen took over last month and are seven points adrift at the foot of the table.

The manager was asked after this latest setback if “crisis” was too strong a word to describe their situation. “No, I don’t think it is,” he admitted.

“We are not winning matches – we are losing matches. Even draws are valuable, where we are in the league table.

“But it looks as if as soon as the opponent scores one goal the bottom goes [from us] and we are an easy target after that.

“Simply we need to have stronger characters and make sure everybody lifts each other and do things right as we did for most of the match.

“When you play like that, you must win the game.”