Why it will pay to be positive about Hamilton Academical
In 2014-15, Hamilton Academical finished 23 points ahead of St Mirren at the foot of the Scottish Premiership table. Why then, are they just half a point off favouritism to be propping up the table next May?
They may have surprised many, including the residents of New Douglas Park, finishing in seventh, but there is reason to believe it could have been even better.
At the 33-game point, before the split, they were on 43 points in seventh place, just one behind Dundee, five off St Johnstone and six shy of Dundee United in fourth.
It may come as a shock then, that the Lanarkshire outfit are the same 4/1 price with Ladbrokes to finish plum last as they are to go one place better than last season.
If anything, their form against sides in and around them means that it would take a big change in fortunes to go down automatically.
Of their 20 matches against sides that finished in the bottom six, Accies won 10 and drew five, ensuring there was never real danger of them dropping back down into the second tier.
One thing they will have to do though is improve their record on the road. Martin Canning’s men lost 10 of their last 14 away games, in comparison to their four home defeats in the same period.
Improve their form on their travels and there is nothing to refute that another very solid mid-table finish is in order.
They have lost Stephen Hendrie to West Ham over the summer, but look to have replaced him well enough with Antons Kurakins.
The Latvia international has joined from Ventspils, and while his spell in Scotland with Celtic didn’t quite work out, he has plenty of experience of big games in the Champions League and Europa League.
The recruitment of Christian Nade, Salva Chamorro and Gramoz Kurtaj has added further new blood to the ranks, while they haven’t really lost any other first teamers of note.
A win against Partick Thistle on the opening day will set the scene for the season ahead, but victory against the Jags would mean that they are more likely to break into the top six, than face the drop.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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