IF it were a horse race both would most likely have been shot before they got round the final bend. Sorry, that should read before their supporters went round the bend.
Who would be a Hamilton or Inverness supporter? It is a very question indelibly scribed into the history books as one of the world’s most greatest conundrums. In hundreds of years from now dusty and faded parchment will be uncovered in a tomb somewhere north west of Cairo – Burnbank – by some adventurous historian from the University of the West of Scotland, let’s call him Indiana McClatchie, who will be dumbfounded by his find. Among such theological and philosophical essays pondering burning topics like if there is indeed a God, how the universe was made, was John F Kennedy really shot by the man behind the grassy knoll and questioning how the pyramids rose from Egyptian sands, the intrepid hero of this tale will instead by drawn to the crumpled remains of a New Douglas Park season book buried within, with the words ‘Dear lord what have I done?’ scrawled in a mixture of blood and Bovril across the front.
To give it its proper name, The SuperSeal Stadium or indeed the Caledonian Stadium can hardly be described as temples of doom – such titles are surely reserved for the shopping centre adjacent to the former – but this is indeed the last crusade for whatever one of the respective incumbents falters this afternoon.
You can’t say it’s not been coming. For both Hamilton and Inverness Caledonian Thistle, this whole season has been one titanic struggle offering as much promise as a British Eurovision entry. When one of them is finally allowed to slip out of the Ladbrokes Premiership this afternoon, some sweet relief can be garnered only equal to one’s emotion when they get to the end of one of this scribe’s befuddled columns.
There is little sense or joy to be taken from either endeavour if we are being honest.
The failings of both teams will have been blatantly obvious to the supporters who have endured great suffering at the hands of their respective sides all season. To the outside, their deficiencies have been masked by the poor form of others who only just managed to escape the clutches of the threat of relegation in the last few weeks.
Partick Thistle were looking in trouble early on before cantering into the top six, Kilmarnock, Ross County and most recently Motherwell and Dundee only reaching salvation after the post split.
The fact we are left with Hamilton and Inverness should not really come as much of a surprise. In a season which has largely followed a predictable pattern, the only real twist to the pundits and predictors is that Kilmarnock were safe from joining them some weeks ago.
In derbies and in matches of such magnitude, the cliche ‘form goes out the window’ is normally trotted out. Nonsense, and that’s why Hamilton fans will be chewing their finger nails as if they were dipped in sugar and honey come three o’clock.
As with most things, the devil is in the detail. With one fixture left, Accies sit second bottom of the Premiership one point above Inverness. With a superior goal difference of five for them, only a win for Richie Foran’s team couple with anything but for Martin Canning’s Hamilton will save Caley Thistle from plummeting back down to the second tier for the first time since 2010. Out of all the possibilities, it is surprisingly perhaps the most likely.
It is incredible to think the team bottom of the league is on a run of form, but Foran’s men have won two out of their last three games. Considering they had managed the feat of taking three points just four times in the previous 34 games, it is a streak hotter than a Gregg’s Steak Bake (Other pastry outlets are available – trust me).
Certain relegation looked to be confirmed at Dens Park on Wednesday only for a 2-0 win to be plucked from the hat. Perhaps the same one a victory over Rangers earlier this campaign was discovered. Now, all that stands in their way is a Motherwell side, still high on life after their on safety was confirmed midweek, take to the pitch trying to banish thoughts of beach balls, sun beds and massive Toblerones in duty free in the coming days.
For Hamilton, the objective to equal whatever Inverness do is straightforward in theory, but fraught with the danger of a thousand Spanish taxi drivers in practice. Ahead of their only away win of the season back on April 15 away to Dundee, Canning declared the character of his players will determine their destiny this season. A month on from that 2-0 win, and his players’ character have recorded four defeats on the spin. Most notably at home to Motherwell last weekend as an air of reality, rage and relegation began to set in.
Even if Hamilton manage to repeat their heroics against the Dens Park club who visit the SuperSeal Stadium this afternoon, the thought of them being able to navigate a play-off seems ambitious.
Accies have bounced like a dead cat since the pressure has been cranked up in recent weeks, while Inverness have shown some form of dig to grind out some success in the face of extreme adversity.
We may be on the home straight, and Foran’s outside shot could just have timed their run to perfection.
Source : HeraldScotland