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Brian Rice: First and foremost Hamilton must survive in the Premiership

Hamilton Academical v Celtic – Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership – Fountain of Youth Stadium
(Image credit: Jane Barlow)

Hamilton boss Brian Rice will start the season with Scottish Premiership survival a minimum requirement.

Accies are no strangers to the bottom half of the table and were in 11th place when the league was called off early last season due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Ahead of a trip to Celtic for Sunday’s league opener, Rice outlined his demands for the campaign ahead.

The former Hibernian and Nottingham Forest player said: “Last year we finished 11th, this year we need to stay in the Premiership.

“As simple as that. That is the first goal.

“First and foremost stay in the Premiership and try to get higher.”

Rice, who took over as Accies boss in January 2019, insists the Lanarkshire club will continue in their tradition of giving youth a chance.

He said: “We have relied on youth before and we have got back to that in a big way since I came into the club and it’s the way we will go forward.

“But I have said on numerous occasions, they have to be good enough.

“It is not a case of, ‘he’s a young player, get him in’.

“I am lucky enough to have three or four who I gave a chance to last year, and who took their chance. I know I can count on them.

“Now I have another one or two. I am not going to fill the team with 10 19-year-olds, that’s not practical.

“But if they are good enough they will be in.”