Hamilton cannot become complacent – Brian Rice

Brian Rice has told his Hamilton players to forget about the Ladbrokes Premiership table and focus on beating Kilmarnock.

Accies return from the international break looking to protect a six-point lead over the bottom two when they travel to Rugby Park on Saturday.

But Rice fears his team might think it is job done if they spend too long looking at the standings and leave the door open for relegation rivals Dundee and St Mirren to claw back that gap.

He has urged his players to ignore the league ladder and instead spend their time thinking about how they can take down Steve Clarke’s Killie side.

Rice, who saw Hamilton beat Hearts in their last outing before the break, said: “It’s a good thing and a bad thing we’ve got some breathing space now.

“It’s great we’ve opened up a little bit of a gap but the last thing we want to do is become complacent.

“I’m trying to drum that message into the players.

“It’s human nature to look at the table and fixtures. I just want them to concentrate on their own job, though, and this week’s job is Kilmarnock.

“We need to get our own house in order first and whatever happens elsewhere will happen.

“I won’t ban them from looking at the table, though, because they will just look anyway.”

St Mirren host Dundee on Saturday in Paisley but missed a golden opportunity to leapfrog the Dark Blues when they lost to St Johnstone on Wednesday night.

Buddies frontman Simeon Jackson was guilty of a shocking penalty miss that handed victory to Tommy Wright’s team.

Now Rice has admitted it will be crucial his side hold their nerve in the final eight games of the season.

He said: “It’s not about bottle, it’s about emotions, controlling your emotions. It can get a bit tense at times but you can use that to your advantage.

“If you know exactly what you’re doing out on the training pitch and being coached into a way of playing, then you can always fall back into that.

“That’s why the coaching has to be good, so the players understand what they’re doing.”