Collecting the SPFL Championship Manager of the Month award for March yesterday would give Alex Neil occasion to stand out.
Instead he chose to sit. The demands of leading Hamilton Academical to the top of the division would seem wearing enough for the player-manager, although Neil acknowledged too that he had first to guide his squad through a video analysis session and then take them for training before he could expect another chance to rest.
Even then it is unlikely that his mind would be made to settle. His thoughts have taken to wandering towards the prospect of promotion this season as Hamilton are in front in the title race. The Lanarkshire side are ahead by a nose with just four fixtures left, Dundee in second having scored nine goals fewer. That has left Hamilton with a tentative grip on top spot, although an ascent into the Premiership can continue even should they slip. The club will remain tethered to the top flight by a potential play-off tie if they fall behind during the final weeks of the season.
Loading article content
"It's about handling pressure now," said Neil. "The pressure is going to be on us, Dundee, and Falkirk to a lesser extent. The one thing I say to the players is: 'Why be scared? The worst that is going to happen is you are going to lose.' That happens. Our priority is to go and attack and score goals."
It was a message which brought a reward yesterday. Neil will hope that a seat will also be saved for him in the Premiership next season.