Hamilton boss Rice warns relegation fight is not yet over

Brian Rice has warned his Hamilton squad it would be folly to think they are safe from automatic relegation.

Accies are nine points clear of favourites for the drop Dundee and a point from Saturday’s crucial Dens Park clash would be enough to spare Rice’s team and demote Jim McIntyre’s.

But the Hamilton boss watched the fired-up Dark Blues push Motherwell close last Saturday before suffering injury-time heartache as they slumped to a 4-3 loss.

He expects Dundee to come out fighting again as they enter the Ladbrokes Premiership’s last-chance saloon and said: “It’s good to know a point means we’d avoid automatic relegation but it’s all three that I’m after.

“I’ve been hearing people talking about how Dundee are down. They are not.

“Jim will have them giving everything. They scored three at Motherwell last week and OK, they lost four, but I watched the game and they are fighting for their lives.

“It would be folly for us it’s only a two-horse race to finish bottom. There are three teams still involved and we’re one of them.”

Rice saw Dundee throw caution to the wind at Fir Park last weekend and expects them to gamble again as they look for the win that keeps them alive in the battle at the bottom. But he insists Hamilton are just as determined to grab the win as they look to stretch their own two-point lead over St Mirren in the play-off spot.

He said: “Dundee will take risks this weekend. I watched their set plays against Motherwell and they did a few things differently, they took a big chance.

“Would I do the same? Of course I would, it’s high stakes we’re playing for. I’m I was in Dundee’s shoes I’d be doing everything I possible could to win the game.

“But I’m in Hamilton’s shoes but we’re be doing everything we possibly can to win the game.”

Accies have survived in the top-flight over the last five season largely thanks to strength of their team spirit. And Rice says that will be as vital as ever over the final three games of the campaign.

“Where we are as a club, there is no room for passengers full stop,” he said.

“It’s a single-decker bus. It’s not a double-decker with people upstairs having a look around. We’re all on the bottom deck working.”

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