Stlylish Hamilton rip up script with defeat of Hibs

Darian MacKinnon could only laugh as he was informed that jubilant Hamilton fans had been singing that they are going to win the league.

Neil Lennon jumps off his seat in the dugout as his Hibs team struggle to contain Hamilton. Picture: SNS.

The 3-1 win over Hibernian on Saturday was impressive but not the stuff of miracles. What it may help them do, however, is stay in the league and prove their sceptics wrong once again.

Their low budget, and even lower crowd numbers, make them the pundits’ perennial picks to go down but since getting the better of the Leith side in the May 2014 play-off, Hamilton have successfully safeguarded their Premiership status.

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“I’ve said it before. I don’t disagree with people in the media or whatever,” said the Hamilton midfielder. “If I was looking in from the outside then I would be saying Accies would be the team to go down. But it is up to us to keep proving people wrong.

“The gaffer emphasised that we 
had to get a good start. You don’t want to get cut adrift because I think a lot of the bottom-six teams are fairly even squad-wise. A good start can give you a massive help in terms of staying in the league.”

Hibs had started the season well, winning at home to Partick Thistle and then away to Rangers, but with manager Neil Lennon admitting that he had failed to stay on the backs of his players in the build up, they floundered against Hamilton. Flat and with errors at the back, a bluntness to the attack and little zip in the midfield, they were made to pay by visitors who turned in a display that Martin Canning described as one of the most complete he has presided over as their gaffer.

MacKinnon, pictured left, did not disagree. “I thought we were excellent, to a man,” he said. “Both teams played good football at times, in fact.

“I knew they were going to let us play – and that we’d let them play. We have good players and if it doesn’t turn into a battle we can be a right good side. I thought the pitch was massive, in terms of there being a lot of space to play, and we used it well.

“We can play like that but we are not going to get carried away. We are not going to play like that every week. At least we have shown that when we get time to play we can do it. We are not just a lump-it-up-the-field team.

“I was delighted for Rakish [Bingham] getting his goals because he has been given a wee bit of a hard time about not scoring. But if you are playing for Hamilton, you are not going to get many clear-cut opportunities. He took his goals very well.”

The first was from the penalty spot, after Darren McGregor miscalculated a challenge on Greg Docherty in the 51st minute. Up until then, Hibs’ keeper Ofir Marciano had foiled the guests, pulling off saves from Docherty and a superb diving effort to thwart Ali Crawford’s effort which looked destined for the top corner. But while the Israeli dived the right way, Bingham got the placement and the power right and sent his spot-kick low into the bottom corner.

The second Hamilton goal came from another Hibs blunder, much to the chagrin of Lennon. This time it was Paul Hanlon who messed up a pass to Lewis Stevenson and instead played in substitute Louis Longridge, who was clinical with his finish. It epitomised the sloppiness in the Leith side’s play and the killer instinct on show in the opposition ranks.

Lennon had tried to shake things up, sending on last week’s match winner Vykintas Slivka and debutant Brandon Barker, who has signed a season-long loan deal from Manchester City, but neither could turn the tide and it was Hamilton who scored again.

They saved the best goal for last, with a well-worked flowing move which was rounded off by Bingham with the composure and confidence of a man who knew he was going to be picking up all three points.

Hibs did finally find the target, when Anthony Stokes scored with virtually the last kick of the game, but it did nothing to disguise what had been a disappointing performance.

“The result was definitely not what was planned,” said substitute Barker. “The team didn’t perform, we know that, but we are coming back next week to give it a right go again.

“We just have to put it right and show everyone what we can do. We are disappointed in ourselves because we know what we can do as a team. We showed that last week and we should really be showing that again at home.”