Hamilton Academical progressed to a Scottish Premiership play-off final against Hibernian by narrowly beating Falkirk.

Tony Andreu's finish proved decisive in a match where Accies' Kevin Cuthbert made three wonderful saves.

Mark Beck, Will Vaulks and Conor McGrandles were all denied during a sparkling performance by the goalkeeper.

Accies host Hibs on Wednesday, with the return leg at Easter Road on Sunday.

And Alex Neil's Hamilton side will be confident of having the attacking prowess to cause Hibs problems, and potentially end a three-year hiatus from the top flight.

Despite not having beaten Hamilton in any of their five previous meetings this season, early long-range efforts by Falkirk's Mark Millar and Stephen Kingsley suggested that trend could end.

Cuthbert dealt with those strikes easily and the 31-year-old former St Johnstone man would emphasise his worth more spectacularly later.

The hosts' opener came after 16 minutes via the right boot of French talisman Andreu, once of Livingston and surely soon of the Scottish Premiership, be it with Hamilton or someone else.

However, the ball only arrived at the attacking midfielder for his fifth goal in three games because experienced Falkirk defender David McCracken misjudged a bouncing ball and was out-muscled by Jason Scotland, who cut back for Andreu to finish from six yards.

Tony Andreu grabs the all-important goal for Hamilton

Frenchman Tony Andreu grabs the all-important goal for Hamilton

As Falkirk tried to reply, Millar curled a lovely free-kick on to the head of a diving Beck and most of New Douglas Park expected the net's bottom corner to ripple, but Cuthbert found the agility to claw it wide with his left glove.

In addition to Andreu, Hamilton's fearless winger Louis Longridge looks ready for a step up. He twice got the better of Kingsley on the right side to drive in on goal, but the Falkirk man recovered to block the first and the second was cut-back to Scotland, whose shot got smothered.

After the break, the visitors' Rory Loy had a lobbed effort cleared off the line reasonably comfortably by Ziggy Gordon.

And as Falkirk increased the pressure, shooting towards their own fans, Accies had an inspired Cuthbert to thank again for keeping them in front.

He dived high to his right to turn away Vaulks' well-controlled side-foot volley, before stretching left minutes later to push away McGrandles' low strike from the edge of the box.

McCracken then almost atoned for his early mistake but his header at the back post was deflected wide.

From there, Longridge had Accies springing forward and substitute Andy Ryan ought to have wrapped it up instead of dragging a left foot effort wide of the near post.

Ryan sent in a better shot from Andreu's square pass soon after, but goalkeeper Michael McGovern was equal to it.

And right at the end, Falkirk's Luke Leahy produced an outstanding headed clearance off the line to ensure Ryan did not get his name on to the scoresheet.

Lineup, Bookings (4) & Substitutions (5)

Hamilton Academical

  • 01 Cuthbert
  • 06 Gillespie
  • 02 Gordon
  • 08 Routledge
  • 05 Canning Booked
  • 24 Tena
  • 22 Andreu
  • 18 MacKinnon Booked
  • 50 Scotland (Antoine-Curier - 69' )
  • 17 Longridge (Keatings - 90' )
  • 11 Crawford (Ryan - 68' )

Substitutes

  • 03 Hendrie
  • 04 Devlin
  • 07 Keatings
  • 19 Currie
  • 32 Ryan
  • 33 Kilday
  • 99 Antoine-Curier

Falkirk

  • 01 McGovern
  • 06 Vaulks Booked
  • 03 Kingsley
  • 35 Millar
  • 05 Flynn
  • 34 McCracken (Leahy - 82' )
  • 11 McGrandles Booked
  • 08 Alston (Shepherd - 67' )
  • 07 Beck
  • 33 Loy
  • 10 Sibbald

Substitutes

  • 04 Durojaiye
  • 12 Bowman
  • 15 Dick
  • 19 Leahy
  • 21 Rowan
  • 30 Bia Bi
  • 31 Shepherd
Ref: Kevin Clancy
Att: 4,678

Match Stats

Shots

9 15

On target

8 9

Corners

2 8

Fouls

9 12

Live Text Commentary

Full time

Full Time Match ends, Hamilton Academical 1, Falkirk 0.

90:00 +4:16 Full time

Full Time Second Half ends, Hamilton Academical 1, Falkirk 0.

90:00 +4:05

Attempt saved. James Keatings (Hamilton Academical) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

90:00 +3:12 Booking

Booking Martin Canning (Hamilton Academical) is shown the yellow card.

90:00 +3:07

Foul by Martin Canning (Hamilton Academical).

90:00 +3:07

Conor McGrandles (Falkirk) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

90:00 +2:03 Booking

Booking Conor McGrandles (Falkirk) is shown the yellow card.

90:00 +2:00

Tony Andreu (Hamilton Academical) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

90:00 +1:57

Foul by Conor McGrandles (Falkirk).

90:00 +1:02 Booking

Booking Will Vaulks (Falkirk) is shown the yellow card.

89:28 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Hamilton Academical. James Keatings replaces Louis Longridge.

87:31

Attempt missed. Stephen Kingsley (Falkirk) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right.

86:56

Foul by Jon Routledge (Hamilton Academical).

86:56

Mark Beck (Falkirk) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

85:54

Attempt blocked. Mark Millar (Falkirk) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

84:23

Attempt saved. Andy Ryan (Hamilton Academical) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

82:00

Will Vaulks (Falkirk) wins a free kick on the left wing.

81:58

Foul by Mickael Antoine-Curier (Hamilton Academical).

81:35 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Falkirk. Luke Leahy replaces David McCracken.

81:14

Ziggy Gordon (Hamilton Academical) wins a free kick on the right wing.

81:14

Foul by Will Vaulks (Falkirk).

79:08

Andy Ryan (Hamilton Academical) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

79:08

Foul by Craig Sibbald (Falkirk).

78:49

Attempt saved. David McCracken (Falkirk) header from the right side of the six yard box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

78:16

Corner, Falkirk. Conceded by Martin Canning.

75:38

Attempt missed. Andy Ryan (Hamilton Academical) left footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right.

75:16

Corner, Falkirk. Conceded by Jesus Garcia Tena.

75:05

Attempt blocked. David McCracken (Falkirk) header from the centre of the box is blocked.

74:24

Corner, Falkirk. Conceded by Kevin Cuthbert.

73:54

Corner, Falkirk. Conceded by Louis Longridge.

71:24

Attempt saved. Mickael Antoine-Curier (Hamilton Academical) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

69:33

Andy Ryan (Hamilton Academical) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

69:33

Foul by Mark Millar (Falkirk).

68:38 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Hamilton Academical. Mickael Antoine-Curier replaces Jason Scotland.

68:00

Darian MacKinnon (Hamilton Academical) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

67:56

Foul by Mark Millar (Falkirk).

67:09 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Hamilton Academical. Andy Ryan replaces Ali Crawford.

66:06 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Falkirk. Scott Shepherd replaces Blair Alston.

63:00

Darian MacKinnon (Hamilton Academical) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

63:00

Foul by Blair Alston (Falkirk).

58:28

Tony Andreu (Hamilton Academical) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

58:28

Foul by Blair Alston (Falkirk).

57:49

Foul by Jesus Garcia Tena (Hamilton Academical).

57:49

Mark Beck (Falkirk) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

55:35

Louis Longridge (Hamilton Academical) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

55:35

Foul by Blair Alston (Falkirk).

55:10

Corner, Falkirk. Conceded by Jesus Garcia Tena.

54:57

Attempt saved. Conor McGrandles (Falkirk) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top right corner.

52:54

Corner, Falkirk. Conceded by Kevin Cuthbert.

52:42

Attempt saved. Will Vaulks (Falkirk) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the bottom left corner.

47:19

Darian MacKinnon (Hamilton Academical) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

47:19

Foul by Rory Loy (Falkirk).

46:38

Corner, Falkirk. Conceded by Ziggy Gordon.

46:30

Attempt blocked. Rory Loy (Falkirk) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

45:39

Foul by Ziggy Gordon (Hamilton Academical).

45:39

Conor McGrandles (Falkirk) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

45:00

Second Half begins Hamilton Academical 1, Falkirk 0.

45:00 +0:07 Half time

Half Time First Half ends, Hamilton Academical 1, Falkirk 0.

42:57

Attempt saved. Jason Scotland (Hamilton Academical) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

39:33

Corner, Falkirk. Conceded by Grant Gillespie.

37:19

Ziggy Gordon (Hamilton Academical) wins a free kick on the right wing.

37:19

Foul by Rory Loy (Falkirk).

35:15

Attempt saved. Rory Loy (Falkirk) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

34:08

Attempt saved. Tony Andreu (Hamilton Academical) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

33:29

Corner, Hamilton Academical. Conceded by Jonathan Flynn.

32:56

Darian MacKinnon (Hamilton Academical) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

32:56

Foul by Mark Beck (Falkirk).

32:20

Attempt saved. Blair Alston (Falkirk) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

31:05

Attempt saved. Louis Longridge (Hamilton Academical) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

29:39

Attempt missed. Will Vaulks (Falkirk) right footed shot from a difficult angle and long range on the right is close, but misses to the right.

29:02

Attempt saved. Mark Beck (Falkirk) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

28:28

Foul by Jesus Garcia Tena (Hamilton Academical).

28:28

Mark Beck (Falkirk) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

19:49

Attempt missed. Mark Millar (Falkirk) right footed shot from more than 40 yards on the left wing is just a bit too high following a set piece situation.

19:13

Foul by Tony Andreu (Hamilton Academical).

19:13

Conor McGrandles (Falkirk) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

17:57

Attempt saved. Darian MacKinnon (Hamilton Academical) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

17:29

Corner, Hamilton Academical. Conceded by Mark Millar.

15:01 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Hamilton Academical 1, Falkirk 0. Tony Andreu (Hamilton Academical) right footed shot from very close range to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Jason Scotland.

12:35

Foul by Darian MacKinnon (Hamilton Academical).

12:35

Conor McGrandles (Falkirk) wins a free kick on the left wing.

11:56

Attempt saved. Stephen Kingsley (Falkirk) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

10:28

Hand ball by Conor McGrandles (Falkirk).

9:41

Attempt saved. Jonathan Flynn (Falkirk) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

4:43

Attempt saved. Mark Millar (Falkirk) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

4:08

Foul by Martin Canning (Hamilton Academical).

4:08

Mark Beck (Falkirk) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

0:00

First Half begins.

0:00

Lineups are announced and players are warming up.

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