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Inclusive atmosphere at Hamilton helps with step up to first team – Lewis Smith

Lewis Smith feels the inclusiveness at Hamilton helps young players like him make the transition to the first team and contribute to the cause.

Smith claims head coach Brian Rice’s hands-on approach means he is often spotted taking a close interest in youth and boys’ teams.

Rice handed Smith his first start for the club this season and the 19-year-old has gone on to hit five goals in 25 appearances.

Speaking ahead of Saturday’s Lanarkshire derby against Motherwell, Smith said: “It shows the mentality of the club, everybody is there for everybody whether it’s the youth level or the under-14s, that will mean a lot to them knowing that the gaffer has always got his eye on them.

“Even the young people feel involved, so when you get to the stage that I’m at, it doesn’t feel like that big a jump. Although the playing is a lot harder and the intensity, you know the faces and you know everybody to talk to, so that really helps.

“Every time you play, you know what’s demanded of you, and if you slack off you know you are not going to get back in the team because there’s so many boys wanting to play.

“We know how important every point is and hopefully we can get all three on Saturday.”