Hamilton: Alex Neil still worried about survival

Hamilton player-manager Alex Neil in training. Picture: SNS
Hamilton player-manager Alex Neil in training. Picture: SNS
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HAMILTON may top the Scottish Premiership but boss Alex Neil admits he is still worried Accies could end up battling for top-flight survival.

The New Douglas Park manager is refusing to get carried away despite leading his side to a famous win over Celtic 10 days ago.

The Parkhead win was Accies’ first victory in the East End of Glasgow since 1938 and puts the promoted Lanarkshire outfit a point clear of nearest challengers Dundee United after nine games.

But despite having 20 points in the bag already, Neil refused to agree with his chairman Les Gray, who claimed the club’s stunning 10-match unbeaten run means they can now start dreaming of a top-six slot.

Speaking ahead of Friday night’s home clash with Aberdeen, Neil said: “Nothing has changed. Only once we have accumulated enough points to be mathematically safe will we re-evaluate our targets.

“At the moment, it’s far too early for that. Because we have had such a good start, people will say things like [Les did].

“But for us right now, every game is our biggest game and that is the way we are approaching Friday night’s game with Aberdeen.

“If anybody is looking for a points total to be safe, generally you would look to the 40-point mark, so really we’re only halfway there.

“If we go and lose our next nine games, that puts us right back in amongst the teams worried about going down.

“We just need to remain focused and not get carried away with reassessing our goals.”

Accies will have Darian MacKinnon back in their squad after his four-match ban for elbowing Dundee United midfielder Paul Paton last month.

But while Neil is playing it cautious with his end-of-season expectations, he does not expect his tight-knit 21-man squad to struggle when suspensions and injuries bite.

“Every squad in the league will be the same on the front,” said the player/boss. “We beat Motherwell in the League Cup with six players missing.

“We went to Celtic with our captain Martin Canning and Darian, one of our starting midfield players, missing as well and still won.

“So we have already had suspensions and injuries so far this season and managed to cope. They say you are only as strong as your weakest man and our weakest man is still a good player.”