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Alex Neil: As a Hamilton supporter and a Hamilton player it feels like a defeat

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Hamilton Accies manager Alex Neil was disappointed with his side’s second-half performance as they surrendered a one goal lead to ten-man Raith Rovers who fought tooth and nail to claim a point against the league leaders.

The 32-year-old player-manager after the match, said: “Being a Hamilton supporter a Hamilton player you feel as if it’s a defeat today but I don’t think we should take it that way.

“I thought for the first 45 minutes we were excellent. We moved the ball well, created a lot of chances and deservedly went in with a lead at half-time.

“They went down to ten-men which makes things difficult but I thought we completely controlled the game in terms of keeping possession of the ball but we didn’t penetrate anywhere near as much as we planned and wanted to.

“We didn’t move the ball quickly enough in the second-half which is disappointing and then to be honest the referee has gifted them a way back into the game with an unbelievable decision. Looking back at the video it’s not a penalty.”

For Raith Rovers manager Grant Murray the result was fantastic considering how poor the Kirkcaldy outfit were in the first-half.

Speaking after the match, the 38-year-old player manager felt his side were always going to have a tough game at New Douglas Park.

Murray said: “Going down to ten men is very hard. Coming here with eleven men we always knew it was going to be a difficult game.

“Hamilton are top of the league for a reason but the character we showed in the second-half to get the game level was fantastic. A lot of guys were playing out of position and we had to make a few substitutions and get some fresh legs on but everyone was fantastic.

“I thought Dougie’s second booking was quite soft for a booking. The penalty I thought was a penalty. The linesman and the referee are a lot closer than we are, they obviously seen it as a penalty.”

Hamilton made one change before the game from the side that drew away last weekend to Morton with Stephen Hendrie returning from international duty to replace his manager Alex Neil.

Accies first chance came through a free-kick from Ali Crawford which found Tony Andreu. The Spaniard found space at the back post but was unable to direct his header on target and it floated well wide.

Greig Spence unleashed a curling effort with ten-minutes gone which could have put the Fifers in front, however his curler from just outside the box went narrowly wide.

Some neat interplay between Keatings, Andreu and Mackinnon set-up Antoine-Curier with the perfect chance to put the Accies in front but the low shot from the Guadeloupian was palmed away by David McGurn in the Raith goal.

With just under half-an-hour played Accies should have taken the lead. A terrific cross from out wide by Antoine-Curier found the head of an unmarked James Keatings but the small striker was unable to direct it on target and his effort went just wide.

But Accies were not to be denied and they finally broke the deadlock on 31 minutes through James Keatings. The young striker was played through on goal, with only McGurn to beat and he made no mistake as he slotted the ball low into the bottom corner.

A few minutes later and things went from bad to worse for Raith when they were reduced to ten men. A late challenge on James Keatings at the far corner saw Dougie Hill get his marching orders for committing a second offence with his team-mate Liam Fox getting a yellow for remonstrating with referee Iain Brines.

Accies nearly took full advantage soon after the sending off with Darian Mackinnon going close. Mackinnon was denied as McGurn punched his half volley from only eight yards round the post.

Into the second-half and Raith were putting in a stellar performance at the back with Hamilton reduced to speculative long-range shots

Scotland youth international Stephen Hendrie came closest for the Lanarkshire men when his low shot from just outside the box was narrowly deflected wide for a corner.

With 20 minutes to go and with Hamilton looking a firm bet for all three points, disaster struck. Ten-man Raith Rovers were given a penalty when Iain Brines judged Mikey Devlin to have shoved Gordon Smith in the box.

The ex-Hearts striker, Calum Elliot stepped up to take the spot-kick and he made no mistake as he calmly slotted the ball into the bottom corner past a sprawling Cuthbert.

Hamilton made some desperate late attempts to reclaim the lead but speculative efforts from Ali Crawford and substitute Jon McShane couldn’t beat McGurn in the Raith goal meaning both sides had to share the points.

Next up for Hamilton is another home game, this time against title rivals Falkirk while Raith are at home to bottom side Morton.

Hamilton Accies: Kevin Cuthbert, Ziggy Gordon, Stephen Hendrie, Mikey Devlin, Martin Canning, Grant Gillespie, James Keatings, Ali Crawford, Darian Mackinnon (Jason McGrath), Tony Andreu (Louis Longridge), Mikael Antoine-Curier (Jon McShane)

Subs not used: Blair Currie, Alex Neil, Ryan Finnie, Jesus Garcia Tena

Raith Rovers: David McGurn, Jason Thomson, Callum Booth, Dougie Hill, Liam Fox, Joe Cardle (Ross Callachan), Kevin Moon, Greig Spence (Gordon Smith), Calum Elliot, Grant Anderson (Lewis Vaughan), Lauire Ellis

Subs not used: Ross Laidlaw, Ross Matthews, David Bates

Referee: Iain Brines

Attendance: 1113

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