Report: Accies 1 Gers 2
New Douglas Park
Sat 11.9.2010 / 12:00
Another three points in the bag for Rangers but they had to work for it. Rangers took the lead early on but couldn't capitalise on it and Hamilton responded well. In fairness the Accies were unlucky not to get anything from the game.
Walter Smith made a few changes to the team, some forced some rested due to the upcoming game against Manchester United on Tuesday. Kirk Broadfoot came in for Steven Whittaker who is still carrying a knock picked up on International duty. Maurice Edu came back for Lee McCulloch, Kyle Laffery came back from suspension in place of Vladimir Weiss and Nikica Jelavic got his first start as Kenny Miller was rested.
So the full line up was McGregor in goals, a back four of Papac, Bougherra, Weir and Broadfoot. Lafferty, Edu, Davis and Naismith started in midfield with Jelavic and Beattie up front. New loan signing Ricky Foster was on the bench.
Rangers got off to a dream start with a goal inside the first six minutes. It was a first goal for new signing Nikica Jelavic and he has Kyle Lafferty to thank after the Northern Irish International making his return from suspension went on a run down the left-hand side and delivered an inch perfect cross to Croatian who headed it into the net.
Hamilton could have easily caved in having lost such an early goal to Rangers but in all fairness to them they took the game to Rangers and were unlucky to have a penalty claim knocked back early on. They then had chances from Marco Paixao who curled a shot in which was turned round the post by McGregor then Jon Routledge had a shot come close.
Marco Paixao was causing the Rangers defence problems and had another effort shortly after which went just past the post. Rangers then had a couple of chances of their own firstly goalscorer Jelavic crossed the ball into the box but James Beattie just couldn't get onto the end of it. Then Jelavic had a shot of his own which went just past.
Not one of the SPL's bigger stadiums, it was amusing to see ESPN's coverage which showed some of the locals getting a free view of the game. As neds, police officers and a dog watched on from a grassy hill between the stands, two workies watched the game with interest from a nearby roof.
Meanwhile back on the pitch, Hamilton Accies continued to press and came so close after a lofted ball into the area found the head of Simon Mensing who forced Allan McGregor into a great save. Rangers made Hamilton goalkeeper Cerny work as well and the goalkeeper saved from Jelavic only for the ball to fall into the path of Beattie, but it was too tight an angle for the striker and he hit it into the side netting.
Kirk Broadfoot picked up an injury in the latter stages of the first half and had to limp off to be replaced by debutant Ricky Foster. The on loan Aberdeen full-back almost had a nightmare start with his first touch. He headed the ball into the path of Hasselbaink who then ran into the box and forced Allan McGregor into a great save.
Hamilton Accies continued to be the better side in the second half and found themselves on level terms in the 56th minute. Madjid Bougherra is credited with getting the last touch to Marco Paixao's cross. The Paixao twins then carried out what was obviously a pre-pared dance routine which was mildly amusing I suppose.
Rangers brought top goalscorer Kenny Miller on to try and turn the game back in Rangers' favour and it was an inspired move by Walter Smith. After Steven Davis had a long range effort come close, Kenny Miller put Rangers back into the lead. Miller chipped Cerny after an excellent through ball from fellow sub Lee McCulloch.
Kenny Miller has been on fire this season already, that is six goals in four games this season plus one for Scotland. With Jelavic also looking like a quality striker, it looks like Rangers could have found a lethal partnership for this season.