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St Mirren 0 Hamilton 2: Ali Crawford gets Accies' season up and running

A strike from Ali Crawford and an unlucky own-goal conceded by Marc McAusland earned Scottish Premiership newcomers Hamilton a deserved three points against St Mirren.

Crawford was the inspiration for the visitors as they recovered from Saturday's opening-day defeat at the hands of Inverness.

Saints are still searching for their first points of the campaign.

Straight from kick-off the hosts took the game to their Lanarkshire opponents however with Kenny McLean bursting through on goal but his weak effort trundled past the right-hand post.

The opening exchanges were fraught with neither sides able to take command and opportunities were at a premium.

However, Accies took the lead in the 18th minute when Dougie Imrie burst down the right wing before finding the unmarked Crawford. As the St Mirren defenders backed off he was able to fire a low effort into the bottom-right hand side of the Saints' net.

St Mirren came close to grabbing an equaliser minutes later when James Marwood sent over a dangerous ball across the goal but Jesus Garcia Tena was in prime position to clear it away.

The Paisley side's hope of creating further opportunities suffered a blow when pacy winger Gregg Wylde was forced off with an injury in the 29th minute and he was replaced by debutant Ross Caldwell.

Two minutes before the interval Grant Gillespie became the first player to be cautioned for a foul on Marwood just outside the Accies penalty area.

However, the men in black and white could do nothing with the resultant free-kick and Alex Neil's men went into the break leading by that solitary Crawford strike.

Minutes into the second period and the visitors should have doubled their lead when Imrie pounced on a loose ball from McAusland and played in Mickael Antoine-Curier but the Hamilton hitman squandered the chance shooting meekly wide.

However in the 50th minute Accies did indeed go two ahead when a Crawford shot took a wicked deflection off McAusland and spun into the net past the helpless Marion Kello.

Four minutes later and Alex Neil decided time was right for him to divert his energies from the touchline as he went off to be replaced by Stephen Hendrie.

With 52 minutes on the clock Tena was next in referee Alan Muir's notepad for a caution as the hosts pushed hard to get back into the match.

In an attempt to find an elusive way to goal Saints introduced veteran player/coach Gary Teale in the 57th minute with the visitors making a second change themselves as Andrew Ryan took to the field at the expense of Daniel Redmond.

Not long after, Crawford again spurned a glorious opportunity to get his name on the goalsheet when he powered an effort which Kello was able to get behind more comfortably than he really ought to.

In the 68th minute Tommy Craig made his last throw of the dice as Thomas Reilly replaced Adam Brown.

But it was Accies who continued to be the more threatening and Martin Canning was denied a third for the newly-promoted side when Teale cleared his goalbound effort away inches from the line only for Antoine-Curier to pounce moments later before slicing his effort wide of the left hand post.

Substitute Reilly then wasted an excellent chance to pull a goal back after he blazed high over the bar after some neat play from John McGinn on the left hand side.

With eight minutes remaining Curier was substituted with experienced former Trinidad and Tobago internationalist Jason Scotland coming on.

And it was Hamilton who were to finish the encounter the strongest leaving the home support frustrated and concerned about the likelihood of another fraught season ahead.

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