Dundee brought down the curtain on the season with a 4-0 defeat at Hamilton that saved the home side from automatic relegation. First half goals from Rakish Bingham and Ioannis Skondras gave Accies a comfortable half time lead. In a low key second half Accies were able to help themselves to further goals from Dougie Imrie’s penalty kick and Ali Crawford.
The Dark Blues’ only change was the return of Kosta Gadzhalov, replacing Kevin Gomis. Accies made three changes. Michael Devlin, Danny Redmond and David Templeton came in for Louis Longridge, Massimo Donati and Greg Docherty.
The first 20 miunutes were remarkable only for the lack of action as neither side looked capable of raising the tempo and taking charge of the match. Accies, in particular, were guilty of a succession of poorly judged passes, often overambitious, that wasted precious possession. Accies’ defender Scott McMann set up the first chance with one such pass when his crossfield pass in his own half went straight to Faissal El Bakhtoui, who played Paul McGowan in on goal, only for Remi Matthews to save his teammate’s embarrassment with a fine save.
That was a crucial moment because Hamilton were two goals ahead within five minutes. Ali Crawford swung a high corner into the goalmouth where Scott Bain lost the ball under fierce pressure. Old school centre forwards would have nodded approvingly, but some modern referees might have looked askance at the challenge. Mr Crawford was perhaps in a more generous mood and allowed play to continue as Rakish BINGHAM poked the ball into the net.
Within two minutes Accies had added to their lead with the sort of goal that players might score a couple of times in their career if they’re fortunate. Dundee hesitated over a high ball and Ioannis SKONDRAS’ ferocious half volley from the corner of the penalty area screamed past Bain and off the underside of the crossbar.
The goals transformed the game. Hamilton had been nervous and often careless whereas Dundee had looked marginally the more composed side. Accies now relaxed, chose their passes more carefully and executed them with few mistakes. When they didn’t have the ball they pressed Dundee effectively and the Dark Blues dropped out of contention.
Neil McCann tried to change Dundee’s approach by sending on Craig Wighton for Nick Ross after the second goal. Dundee were now lining up in a more adventurous 4-4-2 formation, but that didn’t produce the desired result; the Dark Blues barely threatened the home goal again. The most worrying moment for Hamilton was the sight of their captain Mikey Devlin being stretchered off before half time.
David Templeton came close to a third goal when he dribbled into the penalty only for his carefully placed shot to be saved superbly by Bain.
At half time Henrik Ojamaa came on for Marcus Haber. There were a few mildly encouraging signs in the opening 10 minutes of the second half, but Dundee offered slight resistance to Accies’ first attack after the break. David Templeton’s run from the left wing should have been stopped well before he reached the penalty area where Paul McGowan’s challenge knocked him over. Dougie IMRIE scored emphatically from the resulting penalty.
With the win secure and the play-off final looming Accies took off Templeton. Hamilton were happy to play the ball around and keep possession without any need to chase further goals. Even so they were gifted a fourth goal when Dundee lost the ball in midfield. Danny Redmond had all the time he wanted to set up Ali CRAWFORD to score with a low drive across Bain.
In the second half Dundee’s only effort on goal was a header from Kevin Holt from a free kick that was dealt with well by Matthews. There was disappointingly little penetration and the Accies defence was firmly in charge of Dundee’s attackers, even in the absence of Devlin. The Dark Blue midfield struggled to build a passing move worthy of the name as Hamilton played out time in a relaxed manner.
Accies have been on a poor run of form since the split and there were signs of nerves early on. Scoring the first goal was crucial for them and once they were in the lead they took their performance up several notches to win very comfortably, leaving Dundee’s healthy travelling support disappointed with their team’s sub-standard display.
Hamilton Academical 3-5-2
Gogic, Devlin (Donati 35), McMann
Skondras, Redmond (Gillespie 78), Mackinnon, Crawford, Imrie
Templeton (Longridge 60), Bingham
Unused subs: Woods, (gk), Docherty, D’Acol, Watson.
Goals: Bingham (23), Skondras (25), Imrie (55 pen), Crawford (75).
Booked: Gogic (foul on Wighton).
Dundee FC 4-4-1-1
Kerr, Gadzhalov, O’Dea (c), Holt
O’Hara (Williams 71), Ross (Wighton 28), Vincent, El Bakhtaoui
Haber (Ojamaa at half time)
Unused subs: Ferrie (gk), Dryden, Higgins, Smith.
Booked: El Bakhtaoui (foul on Imrie)
Referee: Crawford Allan. Assistants: Alan Mulvanny, David Roome. Fourth official: Mat Northcroft.
Report: James Christie.