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Hamilton Academical 4 Ross County 0: Glut of goals proves Neil's the real deal

PATRICK Kluivert has applied for the vacant manager's position at Ross County.

The highlights of yesterday's second half at New Douglas Park might yet give the Dutchman pause for thought.

First, though, the victors. Who needs a flash foreign manager, a Champions League winner, when you have Alex Neil? He has taken Hamilton to second in the SPFL Premiership in their first year back with four wins in a row. Moreover, their performances are based on solidity and quick passing, and they have strikers happy to gorge on goals. They deserve to be where they are.

They have full-backs, in Grant Gillespie and Ziggy Gordon, who are strong defensively and capable going forward, as both showed in the opening minutes. Gordon took the ball out of the sky, played a one-two with Mickael Antoine Curier but fired his shot wide. Gillespie attacked down the wing and cut back for Dougie Imrie whose shot was blocked.

The acquisitions of Imrie and Danny Redmond have added flair and penetration in attack; both were brilliant, the only downside being that their presence kept Louis Longridge on the bench until late in the game. The home side, 3-0 up, improved again once he was introduced and he was unlucky not to score, first when put through by Redmond, later by substitute Jason Scotland.

"Generally when you win 4-0, you're pretty happy with that," said Neil. "But today we could have had more. Credit to the players. That was just another performance like they've been churning out in the last few weeks. When we click, we'll be a match for anyone."

Hamilton dominated the first half, but took until the opening minutes of the second to score. Redmond swung in a corner to the near post and Martin Canning smacked a bullet header into the top-right corner. Ten minutes later, he nearly scored again. Brown punched it clear, but from the move Hamilton won a penalty.

Rocco Quinn brought down Tony Andreu just inside the box. Mickael Antoine Curier stepped back, paused slightly in his run-up, and sent Mark Brown the wrong way. Minutes later they had another when Imrie was hacked down, Uros Celcer was the last man and received a red card. Antoine Curier stepped up again; this time Mark Brown guessed correctly, but it was slotted perfectly in the corner.

Hamilton kept attacking and really should have scored a few more. The fourth eventually arrived when Scotland hammered home after good work by Longridge and Redmond.

County never recovered from the shock of the quick goal in the second. Once they went down to 10 men, it was over. Even their penalty looked a weak decision, conceded by Gordon. It was saved anyway, a brilliant double-stop by Michael McGovern.

Steven Ferguson, temporarily in charge of County, gave a wry smile when asked if the miss made much difference. It was clear he thought it had not. "It was hard, it was very hard, it was hard," he said. "It's been a tough week. Hamilton were better."

Roy MacGregor spoke before the match about how his Highland club has lost its identity, and struggled to connect with the local community. Fare like this will not help, and one felt sorry for the few hardy souls who made the trip down. They are bottom of the league. Whoever comes in has a job on their hands.

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