McGovern keen to stop Bryce find­ing way past Ac­cies

The Herald - Herald Sport - - LADBROKES PREMIERSHIP -

HAMIL­TON goal­keeper Michael McGovern knows he will have to be at his best to­day if he is to keep out North­ern Ire­land team-mate Liam Boyce.

Boyce has net­ted 13 goals for Ross County this sea­son as he sets his sights on join­ing McGovern at the Euro­pean Cham­pi­onships with his coun­try. McGovern is all too aware that Hamil­ton’s im­proved back­line – they have recorded three clean sheets since their 8-1 hu­mil­i­a­tion at Celtic Park – will come un­der se­ri­ous ex­am­i­na­tion from County’s bustling striker.

“Liam’s done tremen­dously well since he’s come over to Scot­land,” he said. “I think in his first sea­son it took him a while to adapt to be­ing full time. But he got his fit­ness up to­wards the end of that cam­paign while he also lost a bit of weight. Now he looks re­ally sharp and this sea­son he’s been fan­tas­tic.

His goalscor­ing record is ex­cel­lent and he’s es­tab­lished him­self as one of the top front­men in the league. If we make mis­takes at the back on Satur­day then I’m sure he’ll be the first to look to take ad­van­tage.

“He’s sim­i­lar to Billy McKay and Adam Rooney, al­ways feed­ing off scraps and op­po­si­tion mis­takes.

“There are a few good sto­ries in the North­ern Ire­land squad and Liam’s def­i­nitely one of them. He’s ce­mented his place in the na­tional squad over the last sea­son. He came on in the game against Greece which seen us qual­ify, so that was great for him to be in­volved in such a big game.

“Of course, it’s the aim of Liam, me and ev­ery­one else to make the man­ager’s fi­nal 23-man squad for France. He’s go­ing to be a big threat for us to deal with on Satur­day, al­though in fair­ness they have other threats too.”

A tac­ti­cal tweak from Hamil­ton man­ager Martin Can­ning has led to Hamil­ton end­ing a run in which they let in eight against Celtic and con­ceded four at lowly An­nan.

Some of their at­tack­ing threat has un­doubt­edly been blunted, but with a win and two draws de­spite scor­ing only once in their last three matches has vin­di­cated Can­ning’s ap­proach as he tries to dig his side out of a rel­e­ga­tion bat­tle.

“It’s been good for us re­cently,” McGovern said. “Maybe we’re not as ex­pan­sive go­ing for­ward as we have been, but we were con­ced­ing too many goals. Now we’ve got a bet­ter plat­form to go and win games and hope­fully we can keep things tight again on Satur­day and from that go on to win.”

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