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Daily Record
Daily Record
Paul Thomson

Hamilton Accies' spirit in Cove comeback draw shows I've not lost the dressing room, says John Rankin

Hamilton Accies boss John Rankin reckons their incredible comeback from 4-1 down to draw with Cove Rangers was the perfect riposte to fans who were shouting that he'd "lost the dressing room."

In an eight-goal epic at New Douglas Park, Accies were staring defeat in the face after 52 minutes with a Mitch Megginson double, plus goals from Mark Reynolds and Gerry McDonagh seemingly having Cove in cruise control.

That prompted chats of "sack the board" and "you've lost the dressing room, Rankin" from the home support as many made for the exits.

However, in an astonishing second half rally, Accies added to Andy Winter's earlier strike through a Steve Lawson penalty and a brace from Andy Ryan.

And there was incredible late drama as Ryan's 89th minute leveller came from an indirect free-kick in the box, which was awarded after Cove keeper Kyle Gourlay held on to the ball for too long trying to time waste.

Ryan's effort deflected into the net to send the home fans wild and lift Accies off the bottom of the Championship.

Rankin, whose side are now a point clear of Arbroath, said: "I heard the shout 'Rankin, you've lost the dressing room, the players are gone.'

"Those players haven't gone. I'm not daft. I look at them in the eyes every day and know exactly what's there.

"To hear that shout it hurts.

"But to see the players put on that performance for those last 35 minutes, shows that's not the case and the players are right behind us.

Andy Ryan (SNS Group)

"In the second half we played like the Hamilton Accies teams I remember and it has to be like that week in, week out."

On Gourlay being penalised, he added: "For me, that was overstepping the mark.

"The referee said it was 17 seconds he had the ball in his hands so he was quite right.

"He has probably taken a chance there and it has cost his team."

Rankin introduced 17-year-old Chrissy McGinn after Accies went 4-1 down and felt his display, as well as a final 10 minute contribution from 16-year-old Ryan One were pivotal.

He added: "The huge factor for me was we are putting a 17-year-old on the pitch chasing a game - and that 17-year-old changed the game.

"We put Chrissy McGinn on at left back and his driving runs to get us forward showed courage in the game. I'm excited for him but he's only 17.

"It's a huge credit to the academy and how we get them ready to go and play.

"I loved watching him and Ryan One come on and influence it."

The Accies gaffer also felt the moment John-Pierre Tiehi was clearly tugged by the arm at least three times as he bore down on goal, without any punishment for Cove's Jack Sanders, was another turning point.

He said: "JP is through one-on-one with the goalkeeper and their centre-half is pulling him. He [Sanders] has got away with one.

Hamilton's Jean-Pierre Tiehi (SNS Group)

"That changed the game for me as well because it became a sige mentality for us. It was them against us.

"The players were absolutely brilliant in those last 35 minutes and if this doesn't kick us on, there's a problem."

Accies now head to Raith Rovers next weekend.

Follow Lanarkshire Live Sport on Twitter via @LanLiveSport, like us on Facebook or find us on Instagram for the latest sports news, pictures and video.

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