BRIAN RICE hailed his players and insists he will never forget his first win as Hamilton’s new head coach.
Hamilton secured a huge victory following their 2-1 win over St Johnstone to move six points clear of bottom club St Mirren in the bid to remain in the Ladbrokes Premiership.
Rice is unbeaten in his two games in charge since replacing Martin Canning as Hamilton boss as they followed up their 1-1 draw with Dundee with three precious points courtesy of a George Oakley second-half double.
Hamilton showed character as they came back from Liam Craig cancelling out Oakley’s opener to reclaim the lead just two minutes later and hung on for a vital win.
“It’s my first win as a coach,” Rice said. “I told the boys I’ll never forget it. We deserved it. We put a lot of balls in, had high energy and were on the front foot.
“St Johnstone had passages which caused us problems but we dealt with them. They threw the kitchen sink at us and we held on.
“I’m delighted with the response so far. It’s massive for me but it’s not about me.
“I told them I’m so proud but the hard work starts now because I have time to get on the training pitch.
“The boys deserve all the credit for working their socks off. It’s not a holiday camp but I want the people of Hamilton to be proud of their team.”
St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright admitted his side played their part in their own downfall.
“We’ve only ourselves to blame,” Wright said. “When you get back like that where there weren’t many chances the draw was probably fair.
“It’s a catalogue of small mistakes that lead to their goal. Both goals were poor.
“We were too deep and we conceded goals which were preventable.
“Even though we had possession not where it mattered in the last third as we didn’t make enough of that possession.”