Rice thanks Aberdeen boss McInnes for Hamilton’s improved form

The Hamilton manager says the signing of Bruce Anderson has lifted Accies.

Rice thanks Aberdeen boss McInnes for Hamilton’s improved form SNS Group

Brian Rice admits he has Derek McInnes to thank after seeing Hamilton go three games unbeaten for the first time this season.

Accies claimed a vital 1-1 draw with St Mirren after on-loan Aberdeen striker Bruce Anderson pounced in Paisley.

While his parent club have now gone six games without finding the net, Dons ace Anderson has had no such troubles after making his deadline day move to Lanarkshire.

His goal against Saints was his second of the week after he also netted in Accies’ 4-1 derby pasting of Motherwell, while he has also had a major hand in four other goals for his team-mates.

And that has delighted Rice, whose side have now moved a point clear of relegation rivals Ross County, with only goal-difference separating them from Kilmarnock and safety.

He said: “I’m very grateful to Aberdeen and I’ve thanked Derek. Bruce has come here and found a nice partnership with Marios Ogkmpoe.

“He’s enjoying his football. He’s 22 and wants to play regularly. At Aberdeen they’ve got a good squad and he wasn’t starting too much.

“But let’s not forget the boys at the back. We’ve had a settled back three.

“We got them together on Boxing Day and we’ve only lost nine goals since then including games against the Old Firm.

“I’m delighted with everyone, with the spirit and manner we showed to bounce back.”

St Mirren dominated the first half but could not find a way past Ryan Fulton, with the woodwork twice coming to Hamilton’s rescue.

The Buddies did take the lead with Ilkay Durmus’ powerful strike but Jim Goodwin’s team failed to build on their lead and Anderson – who had missed two earlier good chances – finally found the net at the third attempt with a deflected strike.

“I think a point was deserved,” added Rice. “The wind was a major factor, especially first half. They had us penned in for a spell then in the second half we had them penned in for a spell.

“It was a good honest battle with two honest teams fighting for the win so nobody can complain. When we go 1-0 down, in the position we are in, to fight back and be on front foot trying to win the game was good to see.”

Saints edge back into sixth place on goal difference but Goodwin has faith in his men to go on claim a top-half finish.

“We’re frustrated to only have drawn based on the chances we had first half,” said the Irishman, who this week penned a new three-year contract.

“We hit the post and bar and Richard Tait forced Fulton into fantastic save down to his left.

“I felt we should have been in front but second half we didn’t pass the ball as well. We got sloppy in possession. We scored a really well-worked goal and it was a fantastic finish from Durmus.

“I’d said if we kept a clean sheet we’d win but unfortunately we weren’t able to. The goal was disappointing from our point of view – there were a couple of deflections and it went past Jak Alnwick and there wasn’t a lot he could do.

“The point puts us back into the top six which is where we want to be. We’re in the driver’s seat with a fantastic opportunity and hopefully we can put on a better performance against Livingston at the weekend.

“We’re not relying on favours from anyone. It’s a good position to be in, the best we’ve been in in our history at this stage so it’s the fear of failure that drives you on you don’t want to come this far and not achieve.”

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