Greg Docherty proved himself to be Hamilton’s saviour as his strike sealed Accies’ Premiership survival and consigned Dundee United to 12 extra months within the Championship.
The 20-year-old Accies midfielder handed his facet a vital 1-Zero win when he rifled residence halfway via the second half of the play-off decider on the SuperSeal Stadium.
That valuable strike stretches the Lanarkshire outfit’s top-flight keep to a fourth yr, nevertheless it may but have grave penalties for cash-strapped United.
The Tannadice outfit’s auditors have already admitted there may be “materials uncertainty” over the membership’s standing as a going concern after they suffered losses of £1.55million following relegation final yr.
Beneath-fire chairman Stephen Thompson insists there isn’t any hazard of the membership slipping into administration, however the prospect of boss Ray McKinnon with the ability to put out a promotion-winning squad subsequent season seems faint.
The hopes of each side hung within the stability following the goalless first leg at Tannadice and there was an understandably tense ambiance because the return obtained underneath approach.
Keeper Remi Matthews did properly to settle Hamilton nerves when he pushed away Tony Andreu’s opening effort simply 5 minutes in.
And it was patched-up Accies – lacking the injured duo Michael Devlin and Massimo Donati in addition to suspended battler Darian MacKinnon – who settled faster into one thing resembling a rhythm on the sticky plastic pitch.
It was not fairly however that they had a clearer concept of what they had been seeking to do than United, whose slender midfield diamond too usually discovered itself misplaced for choices.
The guests twice discovered themselves underneath self-inflicted hazard when Willo Flood and Charlie Telfer gifted away possession and had keeper Cammy Bell to thank for denying Ali Crawford on each events.
The one-on-one battle between the United stopper and Accies playmaker resumed once more on the half-hour mark as Danny Redmond’s free-kick broke off the wall to Crawford 18 yards out. His dipping shot appeared destined for the underside nook till Bell threw himself low to brilliantly palm away with one hand.
Matthews was simply as alert late within the half as he reacted impressively to maintain out a Charlie Telfer cross deflected in direction of the angle of his goal-frame by Accies full-back Scott McMann.
It was Bell once more to the rescue for United after the break as he blocked Dougie Imrie’s try on the again publish.
However there was nothing the previous Rangers stopper may do after 64 minutes as Docherty collected 25 yards out earlier than rifling a low shot via the legs of Flood into the underside nook.
The Hamilton trustworthy inside New Douglas Park erupted with pleasure whereas a glance of dread unfold throughout Tangerine faces.
With a lot driving on their promotion hopes, United threw themselves ahead however had been pissed off when Simon Murray – freed to play after United appealed the double-dive crimson card he obtained on Thursday – blazed over when via on Matthews.
McKinnon pushed centre-back Mark Durnan up entrance in a determined final throw of the cube however there was no late drama as Hamilton held on.