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Brian Rice happy with Hamilton’s spirit after draw with Dundee United

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

Hamilton head coach Brian Rice hailed the spirit of his team as they came from behind against Dundee United to earn their first home point of the Scottish Premiership campaign.

Dundee United were on course to clinch a win which would have elevated them to fourth place in the table following Lawrence Shankland’s fourth-minute opener.

However, with 15 minutes remaining, Hamilton drew level as defender Hakeem Odoffin notched his third league goal in five games to seal a 1-1 draw.

Odoffin’s header lifted Hamilton to 10th and Rice was delighted with the character his side displayed.

Rice said: “That’s three early goals we’ve lost in the last three games, but they are never beat. They will keep going.

“I think it’s because of the spirit. We’ve not scored a lot of goals but we are a goal threat in there – we’ve missed a few chances today as well.

“That’s the best thing when you go home on a Saturday night – have you moved up in the league? That’s the aim, to keep moving up.

“We know where we’d love to be but I never look too far ahead. The spirit and energy they show is demanded here and I think it’s the group I’ve got, with the young boys and good quality older lads. It’s a good blend.

“There’s not a lot between all the teams outside the Old Firm. Hibs are doing fantastically well at the minute too and I must mention them.”

Rice was delighted for Odoffin as he maintained his scoring streak.

He said: “It is brilliant for the boy. He had never scored a first-team goal and he has got himself three now. I am delighted for him.”

Dundee United manager Micky Mellon was frustrated his side did not capitalise on their early lead and reckons they need to be more clinical.

The Tannadice outfit created good chances to stretch their advantage but these were spurned by Nicky Clark and Logan Chalmers.

Mellon said: “I’m frustrated as we did have some clear-cut chances and, on another day, if you got one of them you would be expecting to take them.

“That’s not a criticism but when you’re 1-0 up at Hamilton and get those opportunities you must take them as they are a constant threat with their direct play.

“I’m frustrated we didn’t get the second goal but to create that many chances at a tough place like Hamilton you have to look at the positives.

“On another day we could have been more clinical, but we’ll respect the point and respect Hamilton.

“We weren’t quite capable of finishing off the opportunities to take another three points, but it’s another point on the road and keeps us ticking over.”