Ali Crawford has big part to play before Hamilton exit - Canning

Ali Crawford
Ali Crawford returned to action with Hamilton in Tuesday's loss at Hibs

Martin Canning hopes midfielder Ali Crawford can sign off at Hamilton Academical by helping his side to a strong Scottish Premiership finish.

Crawford, 26, is expected to leave this summer when his contract expires.

He returned from a three-month injury absence in Tuesday's 3-1 defeat by Hibernian.

"Ali is out of contract and wants to see what else is out there and that is part of the natural process of football," said manager Canning.

"Don't get me wrong, if an offer had been right, I am pretty sure Ali would have moved on.

"But the owner felt there was more value in keeping him here and that has proved to be the case. You know when that happens you are likely to lose him for nothing at the end of the season.

"But if Ali contributes for us in the next seven games and has a big part to play for us staying in the league then it is a decision well made."

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Highlights: Hibernian 3-1 Hamilton Academical

Canning's team are ninth and with Dundee hold a five-point advantage over bottom two sides Ross County and Partick Thistle.

Having come through Hamilton's youth ranks, Crawford is approaching 270 Accies appearances and has scored 38 goals.

"He's been great for the club," added Canning, whose side host Celtic on Sunday. "He has been a good servant over the years. We have been good to Ali and Ali has been good for the club.

"When he is fully fit, he is one of the better players in the league, there is no doubt about that.

"He is a midfielder who will work back the way and do his job for the team but has the quality and creativity to open teams up.

"So it is an exciting time for him as well. If he can get himself back fully fit and play the next games then it will be interesting to see where he ends up."

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