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Brian Rice hails Ryan Fulton after the keeper’s save helps earn Hamilton a point

England U21 v Scotland U21 – 2019 UEFA Euro U21 Qualifying – Group 4 – Riverside Stadium
(Image credit: Martin Rickett)

Hamilton head coach Brian Rice hailed Ryan Fulton after the recalled goalkeeper’s “fantastic” first-half stop ultimately earned Accies a point against Dundee United.

Fulton threw himself in front of an Ian Harkes header to divert the ball over the bar from the first and best chance of a tight and goalless contest in Lanarkshire.

Kyle Gourlay had kept two clean sheets in his last three matches as Fulton nursed a groin injury but Rice’s decision to recall the former Scotland Under-21 international was vindicated, and he made another impressive save from Nicky Clark after the interval.

Rice said: “It is a point gained and another clean sheet.

“The goalkeeper has made a fantastic save and that’s why I put him back in, because he is my number one.

“And Kyle has done fantastic when he came in, but he knows Ryan is my number one. But Ryan knows he has got competition now.”

Accies strikers Callum Smith and David Moyo missed good chances and Lee Hodson forced a decent save from Benjamin Siegrist.

But the hosts had to defend well as United stepped up the pressure in the final 20 minutes.

Rice said of his central defence: “I thought Jamie Hamilton was absolutely outstanding as well. For an 18-year-old to play like that in the Premiership was outstanding.

“The kids did all right last week but you see the difference with the experience of Brian Easton and Aaron Martin coming back in and helping them.”

United manager Micky Mellon was delighted with some of his team’s football.

“I really dislike when managers go on about should have, could have and never, but we certainly had opportunities that could have given us a positive result,” Mellon said.

“In terms of build-up play and the team that was looking most likely to get a result, it was clear to me that it was us. We played some fantastic football at times.

“We maybe just need to get on the end of some of those moves and be a bit more clinical.”

Hamilton discovered on Friday that they would not automatically get the three points that were initially awarded to them when Covid-hit St Mirren could not play them in October, following the Paisley club’s successful appeal.

Rice said: “I don’t know when we will be able to play St Mirren and we have to play them in the Scottish Cup as well, whenever that will be.

“The fixtures will pile up, we know that. But the decision has been made and we will need to play them some time and get on with it. We have the chance of getting the three points again.

“I’m just glad we got the decision on the Friday night this time instead of the Saturday morning.”