Hamilton boss Brian Rice believes that the sending off of Jamie Hamilton “100 per cent” changed the game as his side went down to third placed Hibs at Easter Road.
The ‘Accies’ were reduced to 10 men in the 11th minute when the teenage defender was shown a straight red card by referee Craig Napier for a reckless challenge on Martin Boyle. Television evidence was inconclusive although there was no doubt that Boyle was brought down then to add insult to injury the Hibs’ star opened the scoring in the next passage of play.
Hibs were then awarded a penalty after Christian Doidge was brought down but Boyle’s effort was saved by Ryan Fulton.
Despite Hibs numerical advantage, it took until the 69th minute when Boyle’s deflected cross was headed in by teenage defender Josh Doig for his first goal for the club to secure the points and consolidate third place.
After the final whistle, an angry Rice said: “The referee has made the decision with the help of his assistant and I think you can tell by the tone of my voice how I feel about it. It changed the course of the game 100 per cent.
“Martin (Boyle) said, ‘he caught me but it wasn’t a bad tackle’. That’s all he said.”
When asked if he thought the reaction of the home players influenced the decision Rice responded: “I don’t know if it influenced the decision, all I know is that someone at the sidelines said it was red, it’s as simple as that.
“I’m not going to get myself into trouble, my boys need me at the side of the pitch.
“I’m not going to go up in front of the SFA for something I’ve said. You have all seen it, I’ve got my own thoughts on it. You’ll see it on the TV, write what you see.
“I think there was a bit of contact but he touched the ball as well. Referees have got a very difficult job but they’re well paid for it.
“Jamie is gutted, he has been sent off again. It was a massive turning point. I thought we started the game fantastically well. Scott McMann had a shot and we hit the post.
“For 75 minutes we gave Hibs a run for their money with 10 men.”