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Rice interest persuaded Will Collar to join Hamilton

Will Collar revealed Hamilton head coach Brian Rice’s desire to sign him was a major factor in his move to the Lanarkshire outfit.

Midfielder Collar had been at Brighton since the age of 10 and was ready for a fresh challenge.

Rice watched the 22-year-old star for Brighton Under-23s last season and then arranged for him to train at Hamilton towards the end of the campaign.

And Collar revealed that sold him on the move and he jumped at the chance to make the switch to Hamilton.

Collar, who hopes to line up against Hearts at Tynecastle in the Ladbrokes Premiership on Saturday, said: “I found out after I played against Everton at Goodison on a Friday that the manager was there and when I came in to Brighton on the Monday the academy manager told me Hamilton were interested.

“He said it would be good for me to go up there for a few days. So I did that towards the end of last season and enjoyed it a lot.

“Literally when I came back I said: ‘Can we get this done please?’

“It’s so much nicer as a footballer to have someone that wants you rather than going in somewhere and trying to get a contract. If someone is interested in you and they’ve made a point that they want you to play for their football club.

“I was out of contract at Brighton. I’d been there for 12 years and had a good time there but definitely it was the right time for me to have something else in my life and a new challenge.”

Collar has started Hamilton’s last two games and admits he learned more in those outings than he did playing under-23 football.

He said: “I’ve settled in well. I’ve been up here a couple of months now and have been really happy.

“The football is definitely different to what I’m used to. I’d say it’s more frantic, more physical than what I’d been playing, but that’s something I enjoy as I feel I’m a physical player.

“You could argue I’ve learned more in the spell I’ve been here than I have in the last year or so playing under-23 football.

“It’s different to under-23 football. Those games, I don’t want to say are fake but I can understand why people do say that, as you are playing for something but you’re not in the way you are when you’re playing first-team football.”