Scottish Premiership
Hamilton1St Johnstone0

Hamilton Academical 1-0 St Johnstone

Darian MacKinnon scores for Hamilton against St Johnstone
MacKinnon scored early to give Hamilton victory

Hamilton Academical recorded their second Scottish Premiership win inside four days as St Johnstone suffered their second straight loss.

Darian MacKinnon scored the game's only goal and St Johnstone twice had to clear the ball off their own line.

Martin Canning almost gifted Saints a leveller when his clearance looped onto the bar.

And a late penalty appeal alarmed the home side when Saints claimed for a handball but Accies deserved victory.

Alex Neil's side are quickly and effectively adapting to life in the top-flight. The player-manager has kept faith with the players who earned promotion, and are enjoying the benefits of a settled side.

But Neil had to overcome his own unreliability after suffering a groin injury in last Wednesday's victory over St Mirren, and aggravated it during the warm-up.

His place in midfield in the starting line-up was taken by Stephen Hendrie - a left-back - but the home side could not be unnerved.

Hamilton Academical player-manager Alex Neil
Injury prevented Neil from taking his place in the starting line-up

The club has a philosophy - based on rearing young talent and anchoring its identity and reach very much in the local community - and the team plays with a regular shape and style, so that Grant Gillespie stepping into Neil's position in the team did not disrupt their plans.

St Johnstone might have thought that they could steadily play their way to dominance, since they did not react with any urgency as the home side established their ascendancy.

Both teams were capable of passing the ball with care and consideration, but all of the adventure and briskness belonged to Hamilton.

Only a quarter of an hour had passed when a swift counter-attack allowed Mikael Antoine-Curier - a strong, burly, determined presence throughout up front for Hamilton - to bustle his way into space on the right before crossing for Darian MacKinnon.

The midfielder controlled the ball then clipped a shot goalwards that took enough of a deflection to send it bouncing over the dive of St Johnstone goalkeeper Alan Mannus.

The directness and intensity belonged to Hamilton, they pressurised their opponents and when they broke upfield it was with pace and in numbers. St Johnstone were overwhelmed at times, and it took a brilliant diving save from Mannus to stop Ali Crawford adding a second with a fiercely-struck effort from 20 yards out.

St Johnstone and Hamilton players
St Johnstone won on opening weekend but now trail Accies after three matches

Hamilton were enthused, and Danny Redmond sliced through the St Johnstone defence with an astute pass that released Hendrie, but his shot was cleared off the line by Steven Anderson. It was typical of the way that Hamilton, always sharp into the tackle, kept looking to move the ball forward crisply and decisively.

By the end of the opening half, Saints looked a little beleaguered. They re-gathered some composure during the interval, and substitute Lee Croft surged past Hamilton keeper Michael McGovern, who had raced out of his box, only to see a cross headed clear by Canning.

That was the only time that McGovern was troubled. Even though the game was more even in the second half, it was only Accies who seemed capable of creating chances.

Dougie Imrie showed typical resourcefulness as he gathered the ball 20 yards out and hit a shot on target, but Mannus was able to hold the ball comfortably.

St Johnstone could only manage sporadic threats. That allowed the Hamilton defenders to remain composed, although Canning would have been concerned as his clearance from David Wotherspoon's cross sliced up into the air and sent the ball bouncing off the crossbar.

For all that Hamilton could take comfort from their grasp of the game, the scoreline was finely balanced.

There was almost reassurance, though, when Canning met a corner with a firm header, but the ball was cleared off the line by Steven MacLean.

St Johnstone refused to be forlorn, and a sustained attack ended with Dave Mackay steered a header just off the upright, but mostly the Hamilton defenders were strong and reliable.

Garcia Tena would, though, have been relieved when referee Bobby Madden adjudged that there was no intent when the ball hit the defender's arm inside his own penalty area.

Line-ups

Hamilton

  • 1McGovern
  • 2Gordon
  • 3Hendrie
  • 6Gillespie
  • 5Canning
  • 24TenaBooked at 10mins
  • 7ImrieSubstituted forDochertyat 88'minutes
  • 18MacKinnonBooked at 81mins
  • 99Antoine-Curier
  • 11CrawfordSubstituted forRyanat 71'minutes
  • 28RedmondSubstituted forAndreuat 61'minutes

Substitutes

  • 4Devlin
  • 9Scotland
  • 19Currie
  • 20Brophy
  • 21Docherty
  • 22Andreu
  • 32Ryan

St Johnstone

  • 1Mannus
  • 2MackayBooked at 41mins
  • 24B Easton
  • 7MillarBooked at 89mins
  • 6Anderson
  • 3Scobbie
  • 29O'HalloranSubstituted forCroftat 41'minutes
  • 20BrownSubstituted forKaneat 77'minutes
  • 11MorganSubstituted forMcDonaldat 60'minutes
  • 9MacLean
  • 10Wotherspoon

Substitutes

  • 5Wright
  • 8McDonald
  • 15Banks
  • 16Caddis
  • 19Miller
  • 22Croft
  • 25Kane
Referee:
Bobby Madden
Attendance:
1,577

Match Stats

Home TeamHamiltonAway TeamSt Johnstone
Possession
Home47%
Away53%
Shots
Home10
Away4
Shots on Target
Home7
Away1
Corners
Home5
Away3
Fouls
Home9
Away12

Live Text

Match ends, Hamilton Academical 1, St. Johnstone 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Hamilton Academical 1, St. Johnstone 0.

Grant Gillespie (Hamilton Academical) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Christopher Kane (St. Johnstone).

Attempt saved. Steven MacLean (St. Johnstone) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the bottom left corner.

Booking

Chris Millar (St. Johnstone) is shown the yellow card.

Andy Ryan (Hamilton Academical) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Chris Millar (St. Johnstone).

Substitution

Substitution, Hamilton Academical. Greg Docherty replaces Dougie Imrie.

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

Foul by David Wotherspoon (St. Johnstone).

Booking

Darian MacKinnon (Hamilton Academical) is shown the yellow card.

Lee Croft (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Darian MacKinnon (Hamilton Academical).

Stephen Hendrie (Hamilton Academical) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by David Mackay (St. Johnstone).

Attempt saved. Tony Andreu (Hamilton Academical) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top left corner.

Substitution

Substitution, St. Johnstone. Christopher Kane replaces Scott Brown.

Substitution

Substitution, Hamilton Academical. Andy Ryan replaces Ali Crawford.

Foul by Dougie Imrie (Hamilton Academical).

Brian Easton (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Attempt saved. Martin Canning (Hamilton Academical) header from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner.

Corner, Hamilton Academical. Conceded by Tam Scobbie.

Attempt missed. David Wotherspoon (St. Johnstone) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right.

Corner, St. Johnstone. Conceded by Stephen Hendrie.

Jesus Garcia Tena (Hamilton Academical) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Steven MacLean (St. Johnstone).

Substitution

Substitution, Hamilton Academical. Tony Andreu replaces Daniel Redmond.

Substitution

Substitution, St. Johnstone. Gary McDonald replaces Adam Morgan.

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

Daniel Redmond (Hamilton Academical) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Chris Millar (St. Johnstone).

Foul by Ziggy Gordon (Hamilton Academical).

Adam Morgan (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick on the left wing.

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

Foul by Brian Easton (St. Johnstone).

Jesus Garcia Tena (Hamilton Academical) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Chris Millar (St. Johnstone).

Second Half

Second Half begins Hamilton Academical 1, St. Johnstone 0.

Half Time

First Half ends, Hamilton Academical 1, St. Johnstone 0.

goal