Hamilton player/manager Martin Canning has blasted his players following a disappointing display in a dismal 1-0 defeat at St Mirren.
The Accies have won plaudits this season for their style of play and are sitting comfortably in mid-table in their first season back in the Premiership.
However, they have now fallen to their ninth game without victory since Alex Neil left his managerial post to take the reins at Norwich, and Canning’s side look bereft of much of the early-season confidence that had seen them flying high in the table.
“It hurts me more than anything that a team can want it more than us, because I believe that, quality-wise, we’re capable of winning that game,” said Canning. “So for me that’s the disappointing thing.
“Albeit the game wasn’t of great quality, but today was as poor as we’ve been both in competing and in terms of moving the ball. We didn’t move the ball anywhere near enough and we gave it away far too much.
“I’ll watch it back and see it, but playing within it, it seemed like probably half-a-dozen times or more one good touch or one pass could have created an opportunity for us to go and attack, and it ends up breaking up and with them attacking us. That quality is nowhere near the standards I expect.
“Obviously they’re fighting for their lives, but for our boys they’re fighting to stay in my team, and that’s the most important thing for them at the minute, because there’s a few of them out there that if they’re continuing to play the way they’re playing and giving me what they’re giving me then it’s not enough.
“I’d rather play a young kid in their place that I know is going to give me his all. I won’t accept that performance today.
“It’s well below the standards that I believe they’re capable of and I don’t think I’m asking too much of them. I know their capabilities, and if they’re going to produce performances that I think are well below their capabilities, then they won’t play.
“I’m still pretty angry with the performance and the way things have gone today. If there’s consolation to take from it then I’ll look at that when I get home and see if there’s anything I can take from it in terms of positives, but for me this is as disappointed as I’ve been.”
By contrast, St Mirren manager Gary Teale was delighted with his side’s first home win of the campaign, and he singled out his three debutants, Victor Genev, Alan Gow and Kieran Sadlier, for particular praise.
“I was delighted with them,” Teale said. “I was disappointed obviously to lose Victor. I thought he slotted in well there with Jim [Goodwin] and provided balance with him being a left-sided centre half.
“Unfortunately he felt a wee hamstring strain at half-time and had to go off, but that obviously gave Kieran an opportunity to come on. He’s been with us for a couple of weeks, but we just felt he needed to adapt a bit more to Scottish football. He’s got quality, but I just felt as if he needed to work that wee bit harder to realise what it was all about and he came on and showed his quality today.
“I thought he was excellent. Alan’s got the experience of playing the league before and he knows what football’s all about. He’s got quality and I think you could see that in a lot of the touches he had and how he found space. So I’m delighted for the three of them.”