A LATE goal by Ali Crawford was enough to send St Mirren on their way to the Championship with their 26th defeat of a traumatic campaign.
New manager Ian Murray, appointed less than 24 hours earlier, watched from the stand as caretaker Gary Teale took the side for the final time and it would appear that the latter’s connection with the Paisley club has come to an end.
He has one year remaining on his contract as a player but, having applied unsuccessfully for the vacancy five months after replacing Tommy Craig at the helm, it is difficult to imagine that he will work under the new man.
“Let’s be honest, no matter if you are Jose Mourinho in this situation, it was always going to be difficult going into the last game of the season with that scenario on Friday,” he said. “I will speak to Ian [Murray] at some point but it hasn’t entered any conversation. I have a lot to think about. I put everything into the job as any manager does and didn’t really think of myself.
“I haven’t trained for six or seven months because my whole concentration has been on being manager.
“When you think you deserve an opportunity, you get a kick in the teeth. That is football. I phoned Ian straight away, wished him all the best and hope he makes the club a success.”
It took 15 minutes for either side to engineer an opening then, after Louis Longridge hit the byeline and crossed for Dougie Imrie, the wide man headed over from six yards.
Seven minutes later, goalkeeper Marian Kello had his fingers stung by a venomous drive by Crawford as the hosts ramped up the pressure.
St Mirren finally roused themselves and Stephen Mallan came agonisingly close with a free kick from 25 yards which beat Kello but came back off the crossbar.
Fortunately (for the home support, at least) there was a twist in the tale. With only seven minutes remaining, 35-year-old Jason Scotland, making his final appearance for Hamilton from the bench, made his last contribution to the Scottish game.
The former Dundee United, St Johnstone and Trinidad & Tobago striker provided the ammunition for Crawford and the midfielder drove the ball inside Kello’s left-hand post from the edge of the penalty area.
Hamilton: McGovern; Lyon, Tena, Lucas, MacDonald (McMann 55); Gillespie; Imrie (Boyd 68), Docherty (Scotland 81), Crawford, Longridge; Brophy. Subs not used: Hill, Watson, Armstrong, El Zubaidi.
St Mirren: Kello; Naismith, Baird, Tesselaar (Stewart 74), Kelly; Dayton, Mallan, Reilly, Morgan (Wylde 69); Sadlier (Cuddihy 69); Thompson. Subs not used: Wilks, Arquin, Genev, Goodwin.
Referee: C Thomson.