Hamilton grabbed a valuable 2-0 win in Dingwall to move four points clear of fellow strugglers Ross County, who remain rock bottom of the Premiership.
Goals in either half from Ross Callachan and Scott Martin gave Accies three points as Brian Rice’s men put daylight between themselves and last place.
The result increases mounting pressure on County boss Stuart Kettlewell, with his side now without a Premiership win since September and facing a trip to Celtic on Wednesday night.
The Staggies had a big chance to take the lead after five minutes when Michael Gardyne timed his run perfectly to beat the offside trap and run on to a Callum Morris long ball.
He charged into the box and managed to get a shot around defender Brian Easton but fired wide of the right post.
Hamilton responded when David Moyo’s cross from the right wing found Callachan in the box, but from 12 yards out he fired wide of the left post.
Ross County threatened after a counter attack saw Gardyne have a chance at goal, but saw his shot blocked by a panicked Hamilton defence.
Ross Stewart pounced on the rebound and found a way through a crowd of defenders with a low drive that was saved comfortably by goalkeeper Ryan Fulton.
But Accies made the breakthrough midway through the first half when Callachan connected with a cross from the left wing at the edge of the box. The 27-year-old thundered a low drive past goalkeeper Ross Laidlaw into the bottom left corner of the net from 18 yards.
The Staggies claimed for a penalty just before half-time when they felt Oli Shaw had been pushed to prevent him reaching a free-kick in the box. But referee Willie Collum waved play on.
County continued to press for an equaliser after the break, with Stewart forcing a good save from Fulton after he beat the Hamilton defence in the air to Keith Watson’s cross.
But Accies doubled their advantage midway through the second half when Martin picked up the ball in the midfield. He was allowed to charge into the box before firing a low drive into the bottom left corner from 12 yards out.
Moyo was denied a third for Hamilton after latching on to a pass from midfield, with Laidlaw alert to the danger to block his effort.
But County rarely threatened to pull one back as they will face a fight after the new year to avoid dropping into the Championship.
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