''IT'S the best result for Hamilton Accies this season,'' a delighted Stephen Mungall enthused yesterday.

The 27-year-old teacher is used to losing: locals in the Lanarkshire town have to be if they support Hamilton Academical, the struggling second division football side.

But in the early hours of yesterday morning, Mr Mungall managed a stunning home victory after standing in the Hamilton South by-election.

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Accies fans, tired of being homeless since their Douglas Park ground was sold for #6m six years ago to be developed into a retail park, decided to put up a candidate to highlight their plight on the national stage.

Standing on a Hamilton Accies Home-Watson Away ticket (a reference to Jim Watson, the club's main shareholder and blamed by the fans for their plight), Mr Mungall won the hearts of the town with the emotional fight to get a stadium for the team.

Indeed, he came away polling more votes than his side normally draws supporters and in the process trounced the stunned Liberal Democrats' candidate into sixth place. Mr Mungall came in fifth overall with an amazing 1075 votes. He admitted yesterday that when he started out he thought he would be lucky to get 200.

Sitting yesterday in a car park, which used to be the site of Accies' Douglas Park pitch, he said the victory meant that at last the stadium campaign would be taken seriously by politicians.

Within the next few days, he will meet Scottish Secretary John Reid and the newly-elected Hamilton South MP Bill Tynan to discuss the issue which had captured so many voters' hearts.

The Primary Four teacher at Quarter Primary School, just outside Hamilton, vowed the Accies stadium campaign would continue to be a major force on and off the political pitch. He said he was now more confident than ever of getting a home ground for the team.