After their heroic win at Dingwall on Monday night, Accies had given themselves one final chance to leapfrog Ross County and clinch the Development League crown at new Douglas Park. Try as they might though, Accies just couldn’t find the magic to overcome Celtic on the night. Ross County could finally celebrate.
Fittingly, Stuart Kettlewell’s players will receive their trophy to the acclaim of Staggies fans at their home SPL fixture with Accies next Tuesday. It marks the culmination of Kettlewell and his back room staff’s hard work in developing the best footballing talent in the Highlands, with the likes of Dylan Dykes, Ben Malcolm and Greg Morrison now pushing for a first team start in Jim McIntyre’s XI.
Guilleme Beuzelin’s young Accies side meanwhile will reflect on what might have been. On a day when a CIES Football Observatory report ranked the club the highest in the UK for the percentage of first team minutes played by home grown players, there is still plenty to be proud of. Four or five players from the youth system regularly feature in Martin Canning’s first team line ups, with players such as Steven Boyd and Ryan Tierney tipped next for the conveyer belt of talent.
Before a hopeful crowd of 1270, Accies also drew on the experience of former Rangers and Hearts striker David Templeton. He was at the heart of their best chances on the night, both sides carrying more threat in the opening 45 minutes.
And it could have been a very different night had Accies pounced on their best opening of the match, after just 4 minutes, with Boyd’s edge of box effort parried away by Conor Hazard from Jack Breslin’s cut back. It was to be another half hour before Accies could next seriously test the Celtic keeper, this time as Tierney and Templeton linked up twice for chances in quick succession.
Hazard was alert on both occasions, showing bravery to dive at Templeton’s feet on 34 minutes, before tipping over the striker’s header a minute later from Tierney’s cross to the far post.
Celtic came even closer though, striking the woodwork on 18 minutes after Regan Hendry released Calvin Miller in the box. From a tight angle he watched as his shot hit the inside of the post and clear.