Rice questions players’ desire as Hamilton lose to Ross County

The Ladbrokes Premiership newcomers were comfortable 3-0 winners.

By Press Association Published: 3 August 2019 - 6.33pm

Hamilton head coach Brian Rice claimed his players lacked hunger as they started their Ladbrokes Premiership campaign with a 3-0 defeat against Ross County.

The Championship title winners dominated from the start and Joe Chalmers curled home the opener on the half-hour mark.

Billy McKay capitalised on some slack play to double the advantage and Ross Stewart’s free header killed the game off inside 57 minutes.

Rice said: “It was very un-Hamilton like in terms of off the ball, not going and getting it back, not showing any urgency or hunger. It was really, really disappointing.

“Hamilton are renowned for being dogged, keeping at it, not letting teams play, and we never did that.

“Ross County were on the front foot for most of the first half, we couldn’t get out, couldn’t win a header, couldn’t win a tackle. We brought pressure on top of ourselves.

“We got what we deserved, absolutely nothing.”

County co-manager Steven Ferguson was keen to keep his players grounded after their impressive return to top-flight action.

The victory followed up their perfect record in the Betfred Cup group stages, which included an away win over Premiership rivals St Johnstone.

“It’s one game of football, we are not going to get too carried away, but it was nice to see this group of players on the pitch and performing the way we did,” he said.

“We know how hard they have worked and how much they have been champing at the bit to get the campaign started.

“It’s the first game of what’s going to be a long season. We wanted to win the game, look like we could defend and be a threat at the other end of the pitch. We did and that was pleasing.”