Tuesday, May 17, 2016

2015-16 report card - Hamilton Accies

Doing just enough
Hamilton Academical FC logo.svg


LEAGUE: 10th, 43pts (2014-15 - 7th, 53pts)
SCOTTISH CUP: Fourth round
LEAGUE CUP: Second round
MOST USED FIRST XI: Michael McGovern, Ziggy Gordon, Jesus Garcia Tena, Lucas Tagliapetra, Antons Kurakins, Grant Gillespie, Darian McKinnon, Dougie Imrie, Ali Crawford, Gramoz Kurtaj,  Carlton Morris

OVERVIEW: For the second year running I predicted Accies would be relegated, and for the second year running I was proven wrong.  Good for them - though this year's survival was less down to their own successes and more down to the incompetence of two other clubs.  Hamilton again benefited from a quick start; they were actually top six mainstays for the first half of the season. But they won only six of their thirty games from October onwards, including only one of their last fifteen home games.  But Accies have the lowest budget in the Premiership, and their business plan is based around bringing through young players - even if it costs them their top flight status - so staying up counts as a successful season for them.

HIGH POINTS: That cracking start to the campaign included a 4-0 thumping of Dundee United and an impressive come-from-behind win over ten-man Hearts.

LOW POINTS: Getting knocked out of the cup by lower league opposition is always embarrassing...but that adjective doesn't quite do justice to a 4-1 defeat by League Two Annan Athletic.  Judge for yourself whether that was worse than losing 8-1 at Celtic Park a week and a half later.

STAR MAN: Dougie Imrie is 33 in August, but you wouldn't know it from the apparently limitless energy he displayed on the wing.  He wasn't always brilliant, but he never lacked effort.  And his six league goals were priceless in a squad filled with goalshy forwards.

ONE FOR THE FUTURE: Eamonn Brophy came back from a loan at Dumbarton to offer a rareray of sunshine during the second half of the season.  His four goals included a brace on the final day of the season, though he looked like a prat for raucously celebrating a consolation strike at Celtic when his side were already 8-0 down.

WASTE OF SPACE: Kemy Agustien was playing for Swansea City in the Premier League three years ago.  Signed in March, he managed one start, where he was so out of shape and practice that he was hooked at half-time and never seen again.

THE BOSS: Martin Canning's record in sixteen months at the helm is pretty dreadful - played 58, won 14, drawn 15, lost 29, scored 58, conceded 103.  And compared to the aggressive, attack-minded side sent out by his predecessor Alex Neil, Canning's lot are far more of the Billy Reid vintage...including the persistent fouling and time-wasting.  They've been hard going to watch at times, especially at New Douglas Park, and the Annan and Celtic humiliations might have led many clubs to sack the manager.  But while the supporters are not overly impressed by him, he has the full support of the board, who are satisfied with his achievements.

PROSPECTS FOR NEXT SEASON: The loss of Ziggy Gordon and probably Michael McGovern is a huge blow; both were consistently excellent performers, and both will be very difficult to replace.  Accies will follow their tried and tested formula though, by bringing in a few foreign journeyman (some of whom will succeed and some of whom will be duffers) and by promoting youngsters (at least one of which will be a gem).  I expect they'll be in a relegation battle again, but of course I say that every year...

FIRST TEAMERS DEFINITELY LEAVING: Kemy Agustien, Oumar Diaby, Ziggy Gordon, Christopher Mandiangu

Lawrie Spence (LS) has ranted and spouted his ill-informed opinions on Narey's Toepoker since September 2007.  He has a life outside this blog.  Honestly.

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