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Cunningham’s composure cheers Rice

Brian Rice praised Ross Cunningham’s composure as Hamilton earned their first win in six attempts against Livingston.

Cunningham came off the bench to convert an 84th-minute penalty after Marios Ogkmpoe was fouled by goalkeeper Ross Stewart.

With Blair Alston having earlier cancelled out Alan Lithgow’s opener for Livingston, Cunningham’s finish earned a precious 2-1 win for Accies.

Rice said after the Ladbrokes Premiership success: “I’m absolutely delighted with that result.

“Ross showed great composure. He was in the team earlier in the season, got a few goals and was doing really well. We changed it a little bit and he’s been left out the last two or three weeks.

“But I just felt this week he’s looked sharp in training so I brought him back in. I was shouting for him to take the penalty as he’s a good clean striker of the ball.

“He’s a confident lad so I’m delighted for him. Marios wanted it as he’s a striker and he wants to score goals.

“I totally understand that but I had total faith in Rossco as he’s a great striker of the ball. If he’s on the pitch he would be my first choice to take them.”

In contrast, Gary Holt felt his team had to start doing the dirty side of the game as Livingston fell to a fourth successive defeat.

He said: “If you don’t defend your box, you’re not going to win any game of football, no matter how well you play.

“I don’t think we played great, I think we did well at times and we went a goal up.

“But we need to be nastier, we need to be uglier. It’s not just my centre halves’ jobs to head the ball, everyone has a responsibility to do that.

“You need to go and get hurt, put your body on the line and I don’t think we did that – and that’s what has cost us.

“It’s galling to sit here and have lost the game 2-1. In the second half we looked like the team that was going to win but yet again we’ve lost the game.

“People need to take responsibility and get back to being ugly. I’m not asking people to have a fight with each other but we’ve got a niceness about us because we play nicer football.

“I thought our delivery into the box was poor so there are areas to work (on) there.

“I don’t think we tried our best when the ball came into our box.”

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