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Hamilton’s Andy Winter hoping to learn from ‘tough’ introduction to top flight

Hamilton Academical v Celtic – Scottish Premiership – Fountain of Youth Stadium
(Image credit: Jane Barlow)

Hamilton striker Andy Winter feels his top-flight football education will stand him in good stead.

The 18-year-old has started eight games this season and come off the bench the same amount of times.

The Scotland youth international scored his first goal for Accies last season but has yet to find the net since, however he is taking on board all he can from experiences like starting against Celtic on Boxing Day.

“It’s always going to be tough,” said Winter ahead of Wednesday’s Scottish Premiership encounter with St Johnstone.

“As a young striker you are going to be relied upon to get goals, but it’s tough and it’s new. It’s the same game I have been playing my whole life, but it’s a different situation that I am used to being in.

“I went from reserves where you dominate almost every game, but you go to the first team and it’s different.

“All you can do is learn from it and I am starting to get a bit more used to it now.

“I have always known how to track back and do the defensive work, I went away with Scotland a few times and played against top teams, so I am used to that.

“But it’s playing against big, massive players every single week that I have been getting used to. I am the youngest person on the park in most games I play in so it’s getting used to that.

“I am obviously trying to get bigger, I am in the gym every morning, but I feel I can compete physically as I am now.

“Every game is different and you learn something new every game as well. There are always wee tricks that even the more experienced players here can teach you about as well.

“I have definitely learnt a lot this season so far.”

Accies head coach Brian Rice is encouraged by the way Winter is progressing.

“He is coming on leaps and bounds,” Rice said. “We have got to remember the kid has just turned 18 and he’s part of the first-team squad and had quite a few appearances this season.

“First half on Saturday he played really, really well, and he tired, because you are asking your strikers to do a lot of work when you are playing the Old Firm. But that’s one thing he is never shy of.

“It would be nice to see him get a goal or two but his work-rate is exceptional and he’s got the attitude that he doesn’t like to get beat. He never gives up and he listens to what you want from him.

“If he keeps progressing, then I am sure he will get himself a few goals between now and the end of the season and that will stand him in good stead for next season.”