11 Mar Martin Canning looking for Hamilton to kick on after Motherwell win
Hamilton manager Martin Canning hopes a new-found maturity to their play can help them move further away from relegation danger.
Accies moved up to ninth place in the Ladbrokes Premiership – eight points off the bottom – after a comfortable 2-0 victory over Motherwell.
An 11th-minute goal from Marios Ogkmpoe, who flicked home after a corner, allowed Accies to sit back and frustrate their Lanarkshire rivals, and they did it to good effect.
And Canning was delighted with the way his players killed off the game after David Templeton capitalised on a mix-up in the Motherwell midfield to drive forward and net a second with 21 minutes remaining.
It was a first clean sheet in 14 games for Accies and vindication of a change in approach from the manager.
“I spoke to the players about trying to eliminate risk at this stage of the season and maybe play it forward a bit quicker, and I thought we did that well,” Canning said. “We managed the game really well.
“It’s not a pretty game, it’s a battle, but we managed to battle out three points and it’s a big three points at this stage of the season.
“It’s our first clean sheet since Rangers away. We have talked about the importance of maybe not being as open or expansive, not trying to get our wing-backs so high and maybe being a bit more solid and tight.
“We need to stop conceding goals because scoring goals has not been a problem this season. Hopefully we can continue being a bit more difficult to score against.
“We didn’t do anything silly, we played with a real maturity and a defensive nous that has been missing for a lot of the season.”
Defeat for Motherwell was all the more difficult to take after Hearts’ Edinburgh derby setback had opened up the chance for the Steelmen to move a point off the top six with a game in hand.
With the top three teams to play at Fir Park before a trip to St Johnstone in the final match before the split, Motherwell have now left themselves facing an uphill struggle to sneak into the top half.
Manager Stephen Robinson said: “First and foremost we have to stay in this division so it was a big three points missed.
“But the result on Friday night was the motivation I thought we needed. It didn’t look like it at times, I thought Hamilton competed better than us, which is very unlike the players.
“They are allowed an off day, we were hoping it wasn’t going to be this one but I’ll make sure they are back again on Tuesday.
“We have to remember what has got us to where we are, we have to keep doing that, and I thought they did that better than us.”