Hamilton Academical


Raith Rovers

Saturday 19th October 2013

New Douglas Park

Kick off: 3.00pm


Match Preview:

Raith Rovers will look to close the gap between themselves and table-toppers Hamilton on Saturday, when they travel to Lanarkshire to take on the league leaders at New Douglas Park.

Hamilton’s 100% home record makes this arguably Rovers most difficult test of the season so far, but they go into the game on a high after Sunday’s 3-0 win over Annan Athletic, a result that booked their place in April’s Ramsdens Cup Final.

Both clubs have made impressive starts to the season, with Hamilton only losing once, a 1-0 defeat away to Alloa last month, while the home side were the last club to defeat Raith Rovers over 90 minutes, in the opening league game of the season.

While Raith have managed to score an abundance of goals this season, with 15 in 8 games, their strikeforce may have a more difficult task against an Academical side that has conceded just once at home, and only 4 times all season, giving them the the best defensive record in the league, and second best in Scotland.

The recent record between the sides is reasonably even, with Hamilton having 5 wins from the last 10 encounters, and Rovers coming out on top on 4 occasions.

Saturday’s match referee will be Iain Brines.

What The Manager Said:

While Rovers were the overwhelming favourites to get through at Annan’s expense last week, Grant Murray had spoke beforehand of Annan being dangerous opponents, and that’s how it panned out, despite the hosts going ahead inside the first minute,

“We got the early breakthrough and that was great, but it probably meant that Annan upped their game straight from the off. In saying that, we expected a tough game, and that’s exactly what it was. It’s pretty rare for any team to get an easy time of it in a semi-final, and even though it ended up 3-0, it was anything but simple. Credit to the players for pushing on and getting those second and third goals to kill the game off.”

The three goal victory was eventually sealed after a Calum Elliot double, his third and fourth goals in his last four games. While that brings his total for the season to 6, Grant pointed out that there’s far more to his game than just scoring goals,

“Calum puts in a huge amount of work each week. He’s probably been involved in some way with the majority of the goals we’ve scored this season, but it was great to see his name on the scoresheet again on Sunday, when he popped up with two goals.”

“His first and our second was especially important, as it gave us that bit more breathing space, and was obviously a huge blow to Annan, who at that point were looking to get back into it.”

Although the opponents in April’s final have yet to be decided, Murray is sure that the game, which will be Raith’s fourth national final in their 130 year history, will be a day to remember,

“We’re delighted to get through the semi-final, and it gives us and everyone associated with the club, something to look forward to. Whoever we end up playing will be difficult opponents, but reaching this stage is fantastic. Hopefully it’ll be a great occasion for the club, and the fans.”

It’s back to league business this weekend, and with Hamilton yet to drop a point at home, Murray is under no illusion of the size of the task really that lies ahead,

“I think it could be our toughest test so far, they’ve got an excellent home record and are playing well, but despite that, we’re really looking forward to it. We lost out to them on the opening day of the season, and they impressed me on the day, so it’ll be a good challenge for us on Saturday.”

If there’s one thing that any club would like to emulate from this Hamilton side, then it would surely be their defensive performances, which have led to the Accies keeping 5 clean sheets already this season,

“They’ve looked great defensively this season, and the best way to win games is always to keep a clean sheet, although ironically, we’ve won at Cowdenbeath and Dumbarton this season despite conceding a few on the day. Hamilton have shown just how important clean sheets can be however, and they’re one of the main reasons that the club are sitting top of the league.”

Overall Head-to-Head-Record At Hamilton:

Hamilton wins: 27 | Raith wins: 20 | Draws:18

Hamilton Goals: 100 | Raith Goals: 95

Top Goalscorers In All Competitions:

Hamilton: James Keatings 7 |Anthony Andreu 2 | Mickael Antoine-Curier 2

Raith: Greig Spence 8 | Calum Elliot 7 | Joe Cardle 5

Match Odds:

Hamilton 10/11 | Raith Rovers 16/5 | Draw: 14/5

 Written by – Shaughan McGuigan


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