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Hamilton club captain MacKinnon in contention for return against Rangers

Hamilton boss Brian Rice is set to bring Darian MacKinnon in from the cold when side host Rangers on Sunday.

The club captain has not started a game for Accies since their Lanarkshire derby defeat to Motherwell back in August.

But with Rice facing a selection crisis ahead of the clash with Steven Gerrard’s side, MacKinnon could be given his chance.

Sam Stubbs and Scott Martin are both suspended for the clash while Brian Easton, Blair Alston, Marios Ogkmpoe, Ciaran McKenna, Aaron McGowan and Ryan Fulton are struggling with injuries.

MacKinnon was the man the manager turned to when Stubbs was sent off just half an hour into their 2-2 draw with Kilmarnock a fortnight ago, and Rice now says his skipper deserves a chance to win back his first-team slot.

He said: “Darian will be part of the squad. He played a reserve game a couple of weeks ago because he hadn’t played for about a month.

“He was fantastic with his attitude and application. That’s why he was the first one I called upon at Kilmarnock when we went down to 10 men.

“I needed that experience in the middle of the pitch and he was terrific for me, so he definitely enters my thoughts for Sunday.”

Accies will need to take their chances when they come along against a Rangers side who have been beaten just twice in 27 contests this season.

Thankfully for Rice, the statistics favour his side. Hamilton have only needed on average 5.4 shots at goal to find the net this term, which is the best conversion rate of any side in the Ladbrokes Premiership.

Frontman George Oakley has been the most efficient striker in the top flight as well. The statistics from the first 13 rounds of fixtures of the league campaign show Oakley has scored four goals from just six shots.

Rice is not one for studying the numbers but he has been happy with what his team have produced in the final third.

He said: “I don’t look into stats. The only one I bother about is the league position. When Leicester won the league, what was their stats, possession-wise and all that?

“There are lots of examples of these things. I’m just happy we’re scoring goals.

“We scored twice at Perth, scored another couple here against Ross County. We went to Kilmarnock last time out and scored two goals again.

“We probably aren’t creating loads of chances but the ones we do we are taking, so scoring goals I don’t think has been an issue.

“We have lost more goals than we would have liked, but it’s a very competitive league.

“I think we should have more points. In the last month alone we were 2-2 with St Johnstone going into the last minute but lost a goal.

“We were 2-1 up late on against Ross County but again allowed them to score then against Kilmarnock were 2-0 up and ended up drawing the game.

“I’m not happy with what we’ve got. We should have more but then every team in the league will say that.

“But we can’t look back. I always look forward.”