Why Kilmarnock's Tommy Wright can act as inspiration for new Hamilton boss Stuart Taylor after Championship win

When Tommy Wright took on the Kilmarnock job back in February, it was a case of when not if he turned the team around.

New Hamilton boss Stuart Taylor and Kilmarnock manager Tommy Wright. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)

The squad for the final Premiership match last season – a 2-0 win at Hamilton – wasn’t his.

Fast forward three months, and the team which went top of the cinch Championship with 2-0 victory at the same venue is a Tommy Wright side.

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The Northern Irishman got to work very quickly in the summer to rebuild. Not just for the second tier but a team which would be capable of the step up.

Scott Robinson was the matchwinner for Kilmarnock. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)

There may not be a better piece of business in the league than the signing of Scott Robinson.

The forward scored both goals – a fabulous header and a low strike – in the second half to give Kilmarnock their third successive league win and, for the first time since August 2019, the team have kept three consecutive league clean sheets.

‘Different league, different group’

“Three clean sheets is pleasing," Wright said. “We did struggle to keep them last season.

New Hamilton manager Stuart Taylor watched from the stands beside chairman Allan Maitland. Picture: SNS

“If we’d kept more we easily could’ve stayed in the league.

“This is a different league, different group. We are in control of games more this season.”

Killie started in the manner of a team who were pre-season favourites. There was an intensity and confidence to their play with and without the ball. Robinson and Dylan McGowan went close before their control waned.

They were shaken out of their lull in the 53rd minute when goalkeeper Zach Hemming made a huge block to deny Accies midfielder Lewis Spence who charged on to a Lewis Smith cut-back.

Then on the hour mark they displayed their table-topping quality with a moment which would have illuminated any match.

A lovely clipped ball from Euan Murray down the line to Brandon Haunstrup allowed the left-back to deliver the perfect cross on to the head of Robinson who directed the ball past Ryan Fulton.

The 1,300 raucous Killie fans had more to cheer ten minutes later.

An Accies attack was turned into an opportunity for the away side. Kieran MacDonald's cross was plucked out of the sky by Hemming who got the ball to Chris Burke.

It was one of the winger’s quieter games but he sped 60 yards up the pitch before playing the ball inside to Liam Polworth. The midfielder then found Robinson in the box. He steadied himself then fired a low shot into the corner. The perfect counter-attack.

From the stand to the dugout

That moment – which was met by more fan frustration – prompted new Accies boss Stuart Taylor to leave his place in the stand to go into the dugout.

“If he comes down from the stand, then it probably tells you that he’s not happy with what he’s seen," academy director and stand-in boss George Cairns said.

“It shows you his passion and his commitment. He came here to the game and sat in the stand then thought he was best in the dugout."

It’s unlikely he will have seen much to his liking in those final 20 minutes with MacDonald summing Accies' afternoon u[ by sending a free header way off target in the final five minutes.

While Taylor has plenty to do, Wright has Kilmarnock in a positive place.

Hamilton (4-4-1-1): Fulton; Stanger, Hamilton, Easton, McMann; Mullin, Virtanen (Mimnaugh), Spence, MacDonald; Smith (Templeton); Ryan.

Kilmarnock (4-2-3-1): Hemming; Naismith, McGowan, E. Murray, Haunstrup; McGinn, Alston; Burke (F. Murray), Polworth (Lyons), McKenzie; Robinson (Cameron).

Attendance: 2,595

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