IN a week where Brian Rice leapt to the defence of academies, his kids proved they were all right at the Fountain of Youth stadium. 

Hakeem Odoffin’s goal was enough for Hamilton Accies to rescue a point, but it was Dundee United, the infectious Logan Chalmers prime among them, who left Lanarkshire wondering what might have been. 

With a jink past Scott McMann and a dart beyond Shaun Want, it looked like the little winger had set United on their way to three points when Lawrence Shankland finished off his flowing move just three minutes in. 

It was another youngster who stole the headlines, however, Odoffin’s second goal in as many games putting a smile on the face of his manager, Brian Rice. 

”Listen there is only one way you score goals like that and it is putting your body on the lie and he comes from a club that does that,” Rice said. “It is brilliant for the boy. He had never scored a first team goal and he has got himself three now. I am delighted for him.

“We know where we’d love to be, but I never look too far ahead. The spirit and energy they show is demanded here and I think it’s the group I’ve got with the young boys and good quality older lads it’s a good blend.”

The United goal wasn’t the only time Chalmers danced onto his left foot and squeezed away from his markers during his time on the park. A flick at 1-0 took him inside the box, only for his shot to blaze over, before he sent Adrian Sporle on his bike, Lee Hodson doing enough to foil United on that occasion.

HeraldScotland: Logan Chalmers was once again a stand out for United Logan Chalmers was once again a stand out for United

All of this came with less than 20 minutes on the clock as Dundee United, back at Accies for the first time since an agonising play-off defeat in 2017, looked to make up for lost time by hounding the hosts from the first kick of the ball. 

Was it the United manager’s battle plan to get on top so early on? He’d have no doubt known the early strike made it four games on the spin with a goal conceded less than 20 minutes in for Rice’s men. 

“It is frustrating," the Accies manager said. “We’ll look at it, all the aspects of how we prepare and see if there’s something in that.”

A disappointing start for Hamilton but they soon showed glimpses of their own young talent. Admittedly, David Templeton, the elder statesman of the team at 31, was once more at the heart of everything for the home side, but he was ably supported by a band of youngsters, who were soon giving as good as they were getting. 

Reegan Mimnaugh, picked the ball up in midfield, brushed off Calum Butcher, and casually arrowed a ball into McMann’s path. Later, McMann exchanged passes with Templeton, skipping beyond his marker to find Tunde Owolabi, who’s awkward header failed to trouble Benjamin Siegrist. 

There was still time for Andrew Winter, in his first start since August, to burst beyond the reach of a United defender and head across goal, only for the panicky visitors to scramble to ball away. 

The problem for Accies was that every time they edged towards United’s goal, they knew Chalmers and Sprole were waiting to pounce like your gran in the comments whenever you post something on social media. Unlike many of Scotland’s elderly population, however, the wingers knew the right buttons to press. 

United also had Nicky Clark and he went closest to making it two midway through the second-half when he skipped onto a through ball but found Fulton in the way. He later was denied by a last-ditch Marios Ogkmpoe block. 

Clark’s failure to put the ball in the net was punished when Odoffin sprung in the 75th minute to head home Templeton’s delivery to secure a point for the Accies. 

 “We did have some clear-cut chances,” Micky Mellon said. “On another day, you would be expected to take them.

HeraldScotland: Micky Mellon was left to rue missed opportunities Micky Mellon was left to rue missed opportunities

“That’s not criticism and that’s just, when you’re 1-0 up at Hamilton and get those opportunities, you must take them. They are a constant threat."