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Hamilton Academical 1 Dundee 1: separatist bid ends with two steps forward, one step back

ZIGGY Gordon, the young Hamilton Academical defender, appears destined for a bright future.

Hamilton Academical defender Ziggy Gordon is challenged by Martin Boyle of Dundee. Picture: SNS
Hamilton Academical defender Ziggy Gordon is challenged by Martin Boyle of Dundee. Picture: SNS

Strong in the tackle, a good reader of the game and quick to turn defence into attack with surging runs down the flanks, he epitomises all that is good in modern wing-back play.

However, by his own admission the 20-year-old, who in February signed a new two-year contract with the New Douglas Park club, is still learning his trade - and, in particular, some of the more obscure laws of the game. He discovered as much during this tense encounter between the SPFL Championship's top two sides when what looked like a textbook piece of defending led to Dundee's opening goal.

Gordon, spotting team-mate Lee Kilday on the ground off the pitch, moved up to play Martin Boyle offside as Willie Dyer played a cross into the home box. However, referee Willie Collum waved played on and Boyle, unmarked, produced a calm finish.

The incident sparked furious complaints from Hamilton players but Collum was able to justify his decision since Kilday, having left the field without permission, was deemed to be active and therefore playing Boyle onside.

"I stepped up to play the Dundee boy off because I knew I was the last man with Lee off the park," Gordon said: "I couldn't believe when the ref gave the goal and I raced to him and the linesman to make my point. In fairness, the referee was able to explain right away why the goal had to stand and he actually admitted it was a terrible way for us to lose a goal.

"There's no way I would have stepped up a couple of yards to play the guy offside if I'd been aware of the law but it's one of those strange ones that hardly anyone knows."

It is little wonder Gordon was in the dark since the only high-profile case of such a goal was scored by Ruud van Nistelrooy in Holland's 3-0 win over Italy at Euro 2008 while Christian Panucci was off the field.

"Even the gaffer had to have it explained to him at half-time," added Gordon. "We have no complaints now that we know why the decision was made and I actually thought the referee had a really good game. But it would have been a terrible way to lose the match if we hadn't got back into it, so we're just delighted to have got the equaliser and kept our noses in front of Dundee."

That equaliser also had an element of controversy, with Dundee claiming that Hamilton substitute Mickael Antoine-Curier had impeded Adam Cummins before bundling home Louis Longridge's cross from close range.

Cummins said: "We feel it might have been a foul but I'll watch it again and then make my mind up.

"I was on the floor and he was on top of me so I didn't know it was a goal until I heard the cheering."

Aside from the goals there was much more tension and effort than goalmouth activity in a game that had so much at stake, and the only real winners were Falkirk who have rejoined the title race.

Hamilton player-manager Alex Neil said: "We're disappointed we didn't win but after being a goal down we would have taken a draw."

Dundee counterpart Paul Hartley said: "It was a frantic game and a draw was probably fair."

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