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Page last updated at 15:40 GMT, Tuesday, 5 August 2008 16:40 UK

Hamilton Academical team guide

BBC Sport's guide to Hamilton

How did Hamilton finish last season? The Accies clinched the First Division title in April with a 2-0 win over Clyde, eventually winning the league by seven points over Dundee. The last we saw, they were jumping around the changing-room singing "Championee" and slurping champagne.

Hamilton Academical

Manager: Billy Reid was voted Manager of the Year last season. We can only imagine what quadruple-chasing Walter Smith made of that, yet Reid deserves praise for the way he has moulded his youngsters into a decent footballing side.

Captain: Signed on a Bosman deal from Mansfield Town in 2005 after earlier spells with Dunfermline and Airdrie, Alex Neil is a key player for the Accies.

The 27-year-old midfielder will be a central figure in his team's campaign as he guides the young players around him through the stormy waters of the SPL.

Scottish top-flight highlights: Unless you go wa-a-ay back, Hamilton's involvement in the top flight has been restricted to just two seasons - 1986/87 and 1988/89. On both occasions, the Accies were relegated after just one season with the big boys.

Hamilton legend: Apart from infamous foul-mouthed fan Fergie, you mean? Canadian international Colin Miller played almost 200 times for Hamilton from 1988 to 1994 and was manager in 1999/2000.

Hamilton's teenage star James McCarthy

Star man: James McCarthy and James McArthur attract so many scouts that the stands at New Douglas Park resemble a jamboree. McCarthy is still just 17 and has been linked with a move to Liverpool and Chelsea.

Strengths: Youthful exuberance. Manager Reid will be hoping young players like Brian Easton, Tony Stevenson, James Gibson, McCarthy and McArthur possess the energy and composure to keep the Accies in the SPL.

They are a team who are used to winning matches. They can only hope that, by Christmas, they are not a team who used to win matches. Time will tell if they can hack it at the top level in Scotland.

Weaknesses: Youthful exuberance. There is a danger that a series of early drubbings might dampen the ambition and enthusiasm of Hamilton's younger players. Striker Richard Offiong won't find it as easy to score in the SPL as the First Division.


Our verdict: Despite losing the advantage of their artificial turf, expect the Accies to cause a few problems for teams at home. Even the most optimistic of fans will be happy with an 11th place finish, which may be beyond such a callow outfit.

see also
Aberdeen team guide
05 Aug 08 |  Aberdeen
Celtic team guide
05 Aug 08 |  Celtic
Dundee United team guide
05 Aug 08 |  Dundee Utd
Falkirk team guide
05 Aug 08 |  Falkirk
Hearts team guide
05 Aug 08 |  Hearts
Hibernian team guide
05 Aug 08 |  Hibernian
Inverness CT team guide
05 Aug 08 |  Inverness CT
Kilmarnock team guide
05 Aug 08 |  Kilmarnock
Motherwell team guide
05 Aug 08 |  Motherwell
Rangers team guide
05 Aug 08 |  Rangers
St Mirren team guide
05 Aug 08 |  St Mirren

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