Hamilton 0 Kilmarnock 2: Accies relegation confirmed as Killie face Dundee in play-off tie to prolong 28-year top-flight stay

A sun-drenched Fountain of Youth Stadium was the setting for a story of two teams heading down the path marked Scottish Championship.

Kilmarnock defeated Hamilton but face a play-off with Dundee to secure their Premiership place. Picture: SNS

After seven years in the Premiership, Hamilton Accies’ relegation was confirmed with a 2-0 defeat at home to Kilmarnock Their exit from the top-flight was something many Scottish football fans never thought would arrive, such has been their staying power.

But in terms of performance, season on season, it has been coming with a worsening points return.

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They will continue along a new path in the second tier. And they could well be joined by Tommy Wright's men.

Kilmarnock did what was required of them on the final day, securing the three points to put pressure on Ross County. But the Staggies’ win at Motherwell consigns them to 11th place.

Unlike Accies, Killie still have an exit open to them. They will now have to overcome an upwardly Dundee in the dreaded two-legged play-off tie, the first fixture taking place at Dens Park on Thursday evening.

Kilmarnock didn't quite start with the intensity of a team which required three points to give themselves a chance of avoiding 11th place. It was relatively slow and disjointed with the home side suggesting more ambition.

But what they may have lacked in control of the match they made up for in individual quality. Ross Millen has shown his threat from the right with a dangerous crossing ability during the campaign. Therefore it was no surprise that it was him who provided the opener with nine minutes on the clock.

Collecting the ball on the flank, he fired the perfect low cross into the corridor of uncertainty where coming in from the right Pinnock fired past teenage debutant Jamie Smith in the Accies goal.

Quality and excitement was scarce throughout the opening half.

Liam Smith, who would have featured more prominently if it wasn’t for injuries, was Accies’ most threatening talent and he created the best opening only for a shot to be blocked. Goalscorer Pinnock was thwarted in similar manner up the other end after being set up by Chris Burke.

Those two would combine once more right before half-time and this time it would produce the goal which all but secured the win.

Greg Kiltie battled with Hakeem Odoffin in the midfield, the ball breaking free to Burke. The veteran has been a key player for Killie and it showed, slipping a ball behind the Accies defence to the left for Pinnock to run through and slide past Smith.

The second half followed similar fashion to the first. Accies started brighter but Killie threatened more regularly.

Pinnock was denied a hat-trick goal twice. First by an excellent block from George Stanger and then by an even better save from Smith. The latter was from the penalty spot after Kyle Lafferty was brought down by Aaron Martin.

Accies, in their final minutes as a Premiership team, finished strongly. Nathan Thomas tested Colin Doyle for the first time with a curled effort before fine work from Callum Smith led to a chance for David Moyo on the turn but the striker ballooned the ball over the ball towards Sainsbury’s.

Hamilton Accies: J Smith; Hughes, A Martin, Stirling (Stanger 53), Hamilton, McMann; Odoffin, Hughes, L Smith (Moyo 66), Munro (C Smith 58); Mimnaugh (Redfern 67), Anderson (Thomas 58). Not used: Easton, Trafford, Hodson, Gourlay.

Kilmarnock: Doyle; Millen, Broadfoot, Ibsen Rossi, Haunstrup; Burke (McKenzie 67), Power, Dicker (Mulumbu 89), Pinnock; Kiltie (Oakley 75), Lafferty (Tshibola75). Not used: Medley, Waters, McGowan, Rogers, Whitehall.

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