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Rice confident Hamilton will survive relegation dogfight

Brian Rice is confident Hamilton will survive another “dogfight” and retain their Ladbrokes Premiership status.

Since taking over from Martin Canning in January,  Rice has been working hard to keep Accies away from the threat of relegation.

With five post-split fixtures remaining, the first of which is a home Lanarkshire derby against Motherwell on Saturday, Hamilton are in 10th place, four points ahead of St Mirren and seven ahead of bottom side Dundee and the Accies boss believes his side know how to cope.

“It has been a dogfight since I came in here and a dogfight before that as well,” said Rice,  who confirmed he had signed Norwegian defender Markus Fjortoft for next season.

“Hamilton is legendary for being in a dogfight.

“It something they have always thrived on.

“It is my responsibility, first and foremost, to make sure that this town has got a Premiership club.

“I keep saying to the players, it is not just about you, your families and your mates, it is  about this town.

“It is not about the name on the back of the shirt, it is the name on the front that matters.

“The players are experienced enough and we have enough conversations about where we are and what we need to.

“They are not stupid boys, they are good lads, they understand the situation, same as Dundee, St Mirren and many other clubs around the country and all over the world.

“We are in a three-way dogfight, I don’t need to stress that. We know where we are. I believe I have enough in the dressing room to see us though.”

Defender Fjortoft, 26, who is the son of former Swindon and Norway striker Jan Age Fjortoft, will move from Southern United in New Zealand.

Rice said: “I got a tip-off from a friend of mine.

“His dad is obviously a well-known Norwegian player who played in England.

“We had him over for over two weeks, looked at him in training, he impressed me and we gave him the opportunity to come back.

“He has signed a one-year deal and he will come back for pre-season.

“So I am delighted to get him.”