Things are tight in the Ladbrokes Premiership’s bottom half right now, with only seven points separating Kilmarnock in fifth place from current bottom club Inverness Caledonian Thistle.
As for Hamilton Academical, they’re occupying that dreaded relegation play-off spot, as it stands.
But the green shoots of recovery are beginning to appear at New Douglas Park, and there’s plenty of reason to expect Accies to comfortably avoid a battle for the drop, in the end. That’s because…
D’Acol is finding his shooting boots
It’s fair to say that the signing of a player who had starred for AEK Athens and featured in the Champions League for Olympiacos was something of a coup for one of the Ladbrokes Premiership’s smaller clubs.
Unfortunately for Accies fans, Alexandre D’Acol taken a little while to acclimatise to the rigours of Scottish football. But recent signs suggest he’s beginning to find his best form in South Lanarkshire.
The Brazilian has now scored in two of his last four outings, opening the scoring with a bullet header in the 3-0 rout of Inverness, while he also nodded home smartly in the 1-1 draw with Motherwell – a game Accies were unlucky not to win. Watch this space…
Canny Canning knows how to beat the drop
With six games remaining last season, it seemed Accies could well have to endure a relegation play-off tie. But boss Martin Canning masterminded a quite incredible run of form, as Hamilton took 10 points from their final six games.
In fact, the split has favoured them in both of the previous seasons under Canning. In 2014-15, they took 10 points from the five post-split games, to ensure an impressive seventh-placed finish.
While they’ve tended to struggle against the league’s big boys, Accies are adept at beating the sides around them in those must-win clashes. And that 3-0 victory over Inverness in their last home game suggests that nothing’s changing on that front.
Clean sheet will breed confidence
In recent times, Hamilton’s issues have lay with conceding goals, not with failing to score them. They’ve netted in seven of their last eight outings in all competitions, but on the flipside, they’ve managed just two clean sheets in their last 15 games.
However, the recent shutout against Inverness could well be the spark Canning’s men need, and they limited Kilmarnock to one goal – and few chances – in the last league game.
With this weekend’s opponents Partick Thistle having scored just once in their last four matches, there’s a good chance we’ll see Accies chalk up a second clean sheet of the month – and with it that would come a whole heap of confidence.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing