Rice used personal touch to land Middlesbrough’s Stubbs on loan

The Hamilton boss worked with the defender’s father at St Mirren.

By Press Association Published: 8 August 2019 - 10.25am
Football

Scotland

Hamilton Academical

Brian Rice believes the personal touch helped Hamilton secure the signing of Sam Stubbs.

The Accies boss knows the Middlesbrough defender – who has joined on a season-long loan – from his time working with his father Alan.

Rice assisted the former Celtic and Everton defender during his shortlived stint in charge of St Mirren last term.

But he insists it was not an old pals act that put him in pole position to sign the 20-year-old Stubbs.

“I’ve seen a lot of Sam on my travels over the years,” said Rice.

“He’s a young lad but he’s 20 going on 25. He’s mature and someone who likes to defend. I see a lot of defenders who think defending is secondary to playing out. But Sam is the opposite, an old-fashioned defender.

“Obviously, I know Alan with working with him. He gave me his honest assessment of Sam and spoke as a football man and not just as a father.

“I like to think the connection I had with his dad helped a little bit getting the deal done but I’d also say that me going to see him play during the travels that I do also helped, as I could tell Sam I’d seen him here and seen him there.

“It’s not just about making a call and asking about Sam. I’ve actually seen him play several times. Phoning Alan was just to reassure me about what I’d seen.

“For me that personal touch is crucial. We’ve got all the equipment in the world like Wyscout but I believe your eyes are your greatest tool.”

Accies host Kilmarnock on Saturday with both sides looking to bounce back from opening day defeats.

But Rice is not fooled by the backlash new Killie boss Angelo Alessio faced after his side were dumped out of the Europa League.

He said: “It’s amazing what performances do because after the Connah’s Quay result all hell broke loose.

“But after Sunday’s match with Rangers folk were saying, ‘Oh things aren’t that bad after all’.

“Football is a day-to-day subject. One week you’re the hero, the next week you’re a dumpling.

“Our home record has been exceptional since I took over. We’ve only lost one game since February and that was to Rangers. So we’re looking to make this place a fortress.”