Accies playing for their futures

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DAVID Elebert is viewing today’s game against Rangers as an opportunity for the Hamilton players to put themselves in the show window.

The defender and his New Douglas Park pals would love to put a temporary dent in the Ibrox club’s title charge and maintain Accies’ lingering hopes of staying in the SPL.

But realism has set in and most people in that part of deepest Lanarkshire have now accepted the fate that will surely befall Billy Reid’s team officially in the next few weeks.

A victory over the Gers would be welcome, obviously, but you still only get three points for a win even against the Old Firm and a result would surely only delay the inevitability of relegation.

St Mirren’s recent up-turn in form – especially a vital victory over Accies last weekend – has already effectively decided Hamilton’s fate.

“You never give up and we certainly won’t, admitted 25-year-old Elebert.

“Everyone will continue to give it their best shot because nothing is absolutely certain yet, but the odds are very much stacked against us.

“We’re in a bad place and we realise it’s going to be very difficult for us now.

“But all we can do is pick up ourselves up and go again. This is a big game and as long as we have a chance, however slim, we’ll be in there battling.”

Elebert is one of any number of Accies’ stars who will also be thinking of number one today because the vast majority of the New Douglas Park players involved against the Ibrox stars will be playing for their futures.

“My contract is up in the summer and most of the lads are the same. I think there’s only half-a-dozen or so who have deals beyond the summer,” revealed Elebert.

“It means we’re all playing for our futures.

“Now the club’s situation for next season is so close to being known for sure the plans will become clearer soon and if I get an offer – even if we’re in the First Division – I will obviously look at it.

“But I’m 25 and want to be playing at as high a level as I can so this game is an opportunity for me to be in the shop window with the game on television and a lot of focus on it and if I do well it could create some interest and it will be the same for a few of the boys.”

Personal pride can be a big motivation and for Elebert there could be a first meeting with Nikica Jelavic as the striker looks to fire Rangers to the title.

The defender wasn’t involved early in the season when the Gers won 2-1 at New Douglas Park and the Croatian was an unused substitute in the Ibrox team’s 4-0 home victory.

“He looks a good player and will be confident after his winning goal against Celtic in the League Cup Final,” added Elebert. “But you want to test yourselves against the best.

“It’s a massive game for him and Rangers.”

Accies have not won at home in the league this season and their catastrophic form has seen them succeed only twice all term – against Inverness Caley and Motherwell.

Those are damning statistics but Elebert admitted frankly there are still more.

“We’ve conceded 53 goals and as a defender that is embarrassing,” he confessed. “The sheer lack of victories is one thing but losing that many goals and scoring just 18 is another.

“We have needed to keep clean sheets because we’re never going to score too many and we haven’t done that often enough. And the goals have been difficult to come by at the other end.

“One way and another it’s been a nightmare.”

 


Published with thanks to Scottish Sunday Express