The Sunday Post (Newcastle)
Rice upbeat as he hopes for a great escape
Hamilton’s seven-year stay in the top tier could be drawing to a close despite a battling performance at the Fountain of Youth Stadium. The defeat by Dundee United leaves them two points behind second-bottom Kilmarnock and three behind Ross County.
They still have to play both of their relegation rivals, but a win on their next outing – at home to Motherwell a week on Wednesday – is now a must if they are to gain the momentum they require in order to stay up.
Manager Brian Rice was delighted by the display, if not the result, and he was baffled that they had taken nothing from the game.
“I can’t believe we didn’t win, never mind not drawing,” he claimed. “With the amount of chances and the way we performed . . . that’s the best we’ve played this season by a long way.
“When you’ve got the amount of possession we had and you’re playing as well as we were, you believe a goal is coming. You expect one to go in.
“We made a mistake at the other end and Dundee United did a job on us, but I can’t be any more proud of my players than I am today – it was a great response.
“The players showed no fear. I keep saying that about the young ones, but Kyle Munro was outstanding. I’m gutted about the result because of the effort they put in. They knew how big the game was, so coming out with nothing is hard to accept.
“I’ll be a while picking the positives from this because there were so many. We need to make sure we don’t get too down about it because we have a big derby coming next week.”
Rice refuses to throw in the towel, though, remaining convinced another great escape could be on the cards.
“With performances like that and taking our chances, it’ll give us a real good chance of surviving,” he said. “The only thing missing here was a goal. I’m a great believer that, if you keep doing the right things, then it’ll change.”
Unfortunately, Rice revealed that there’s little possibility of his injured senior pros playing again this season.
“There’s more chance of me having six numbers up tonight,” he said. “And I don’t do the Lottery, for obvious reasons!”