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Hamilton 2 Livingston 0: Hosts ease back to within a point of league leaders

THE SPFL Championship's latest Friday offering produced the desired outcome for Hamilton, who cut the gap on leaders Dundee to a single point with a fully deserved win at chilly New Douglas Park.

Jason Scotland, left, celebrates opening the scoring for Hamilton alongside team-mate Ali Crawford at New Douglas Park. Picture: Alan Harvey/SNS
Jason Scotland, left, celebrates opening the scoring for Hamilton alongside team-mate Ali Crawford at New Douglas Park. Picture: Alan Harvey/SNS

Despite driving rain and a viciously swirling wind, the hosts placed a pleasant emphasis on their neat passing game.

The tactic was good enough to create an early chance when Grant Gillespie released Tony Andreu in the box and the Frenchman, who scored twice against Raith Rovers last week, was only denied by Darren Jamieson's outstretched legs. Nejc Mevlja produced a cool piece of defending to repel another attack as Hamilton continued to probe for the opener.

There were times, though, when a good old fashioned lump up the park served its purpose, as when Jesus Garcia Tena launched a clearance high into the night sky, the ball performing all manner of spins and spirals. A similar hoof up the park created Livingston's first chance in 26 minutes as the ball soared over the home defence for Keaghan Jacobs to run through unchallenged.

The midfielder managed to prod his shot beyond the advancing Kevin Cuthbert but could only watch as it dribbled inches wide of the far post. It proved a costly miss as just two minutes later Hamilton were ahead in fortunate circumstances.

Darian Mackinnon tried his luck with a long-range shot which took a wicked deflection to wrong-foot Jamieson, who did superbly to fist the effort away. However, Scotland seized on the loose ball before his composed finish gave the goalkeeper no chance.

Scotland almost added his second when he wriggled free at the edge of the box and drew a fine save from Jamieson. Livingston proved they were still in it when a Danny Mullen snapshot had Cuthbert at full stretch to turn behind. Hamilton then thought they had clinched it when Scotland's audacious back-heeler released Andreu in the box but his angled drive somehow stayed out after hitting the inside of a post.

The second duly arrived, though, in stoppage time, when substitute Mickael Antoine-Curier ran clear to roll the ball under Jamieson.

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