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Partick Thistle 1 Hamilton 2: Hamilton still hitting the heights after late show

THE league table doesn't lie.

Hamilton star Tony Andreu (2nd right) celebrates his equaliser
Hamilton star Tony Andreu (2nd right) celebrates his equaliser

Hamilton spent most of last season looking down on most of their rivals and, four games into their return to the top flight, they are doing it again. Only Inverness, who beat them on the opening day, are above them after a third successive win for Accies.

After seeing off St Mirren and St Johnstone following their loss to John Hughes' side, the newest Premiership members are putting their more established peers to shame. Yesterday's 2-1 triumph over Partick Thistle continued a remarkable start to the season.

Hamilton had to wait until the closing stages for their first goal and the dying seconds for the one that clinched the three points. It was another moment to savour for manager Alex Neil, his players and the small band of supporters who continued to believe, even after Kallum Higginbotham had seemingly won the match for Thistle with five minutes to go.

After goals from Tony Andreu and Jason Scotland had secured the dramatic victory, Neil said: "It was like a kick in the gut when Thistle scored but the resilience and character that this team has shown over the last year has been nothing short of remarkable, and we showed it again today."

Thistle fans made their way to a sun-kissed Firhill with high expectations after their last visit saw Alan Archibald's side fire four goals past Ross County and produce a display full of verve and skill. That performance set the bar high but the Jags didn't hit the same heights yesterday.

The outcome could have been similar, though. Late errors cost them dear once again but earlier missed chances didn't help their cause. The most glaring fell to Ryan Stevenson after 37 minutes, when the forward hit his shot straight at Michael McGovern as the home crowd groaned.

It wasn't the first or last time the sound of frustration would emerge from the Firhill stands as Thistle saw promising situations yield nothing, their final ball not crisp enough or finishing clinical enough as it turned into the kind of afternoon the Jags thought they had got out of their system.

When they did venture into the final third, any opportunities that were carved out - such as when Stephen O'Donnell raced away after collecting a Paul Gallacher clearance - saw the Thistle players fluff their lines exactly when it mattered most.

The same could have been said for Hamilton. They could have made the scoreboard tick over at least once before the thrilling finale and should have done so just three minutes into the match when a Louis Longridge effort was saved well by Gallacher.

Mickael Antoine-Curier was denied by the offside flag, then Conrad Balatoni as the first half ended goalless.

Thistle continued to press and probe after the break, McGovern saving well from Steven Lawless, but any pressure came to nothing until, after 85 minutes, Thistle midfielder Higginbotham came up with a magic moment worthy of winning any match as his 25-yard shot found the top corner.

Incredibly, that effort was to count for nothing as three points quickly turned to one, then none, for Archibald's side.

Two minutes later Andreu kept his cool to slot past Gallacher before Scotland did likewise to start Hamilton's celebrations and the Thistle inquest.

"We didn't pass the ball at all well but when we scored a wonder goal with five minutes to go we thought we had it," Archibald said. "I thought we had learned how to be streetwise but to lose two goals like that was criminal."

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