Rice pleased with Fon Williams’ professionalism during a testing week

Brian Rice paid tribute to Owain Fon Williams’ commitment after the Hamilton goalkeeper starred against Kilmarnock despite his daughter being in hospital all week.

Williams had endured sleepless nights as his baby girl had been stricken with meningitis but the Welsh international had double reason to celebrate on Saturday night.

After the 32 year-old recorded a clean sheet in the 2-0 win over Killie, Williams was overjoyed to hear his daughter would be released form hospital and Rice praised his goalkeeper’s character throughout a testing week.

The Accies manager said: “ I knew what I was getting – he was Wales number three at the Euros and he’s outstanding.

“His baby girl has been ill all week and has been in hospital so for him to play was great credit to him.

“I asked him if he wanted to play but I didn’t need to. He was in the hospital in the evening then training next morning. There was never any question about whether he’d play or not. It’s the character of the guy.

“We saw what Hamilton is about. We’re playing the third best team in Scotland and we played with 35 minutes with 10 men and kept a clean sheet.”

The hosts deservedly grabbed all three points against a Kilmarnock side who continue to struggle since the departure of Steve Clarke.

Academy graduate Lewis Smith was the star of the show, grabbing his first league goal and an assist.

Smith fired Hamilton ahead on 21 minutes with a beautiful left-footed shot beyond Killie keeper Laurentiu Branescu, then teed up George Oakley to double the advantage four minutes into the second half.

Williams made two smart saves from Eamonn Brophy and Stephen O’Donnell in the first half and the stopper might have expected to be busy after Brian Easton was dismissed for a scything tackle on Brophy on 54 minutes but Kilmarnock barely threatened the veteran stopper.

The pressure is mounting on Angelo Alessio after another defeat and the Killie boss was frustrated with his side’s inability to score.

He said: “We tried when they had 10. I put on the pitch another striker and another 10 and asked my team to play wide – and we created some opportunities.

“It was very difficult to score. Now we have a week to prepare for the next game against them (in the Betfred Cup).

“At the beginning we had control of the match – but at the first situation we conceded.

“We had possession, we moved the ball well and created chances to score, then in the second half we conceded another goal and it was very difficult to come back.”