‘Boring season’ would suit Hamilton Accies skipper
Having flirted with disaster in each of the last four seasons perennial survivors Hamilton Accies are hoping for a less heart-racing experience in the new campaign.
Dull and boring would do for combative captain Darian MacKinnon who has been at the hub of the remarkable heroics that has maintained their Premiership status against the odds.
However, he would also be happy to maintain the tag of the team nobody wants to play against.
Hamilton are entering their sixth consecutive season in the top flight which is their longest run since the 1930s as they continue to defy the odds.
The 2015-16 campaign was only mildly stressful as they finished tenth. However, they had to beat Dundee United in the play-off final in 2017 and only avoided these nerve-wracking games by a whisker in each of the last two seasons
They finished ahead of Partick Thistle on goal difference and then earned one point more than St Mirren last season – winning their final match on each occasion.
“A boring season would be good for my household,” said MacKinnon. “It is your family who worry more than us. It is football and you get used to it.
“We will say ourselves that we are favourites to go down. We are always the ones tipped to go down. Nothing much will change. But that suits us. We like to be the underdogs. We pin up the Premiership predictions on our dressing room wall – it gets you playing better.
“We don’t spend a lot of money signing players. Everything we do is about trying to get the youth players through and stay in the top league but we know we are one of the smaller clubs.
“It would be good this season if we started well and got some points on the board.
“We have only been comfortable one season since I have been here and that was when Alex Neil was here and then Martin Canning took over but by then we were basically safe. It would be nice to be in that position again.
“If every other club starts well you don’t want to be cut adrift so if you get a few points on the board then it takes away some of that pressure.
“The gaffer Brian Rice is big on the fact we are horrible to play against. He said when he was at other clubs that teams hated coming to play us because we never gave up and we got stuck in. We need to get back to being horrible to play against and when the time is right play a bit of football.”
Latest bright spark Ross Cunningham falls into that category having slammed four goals in the Betfred Cup and MacKinnon wants the younger players to really push this season.
He said: “He has had injury problems and been unlucky but he should have started before. There are few there who can kick on. You look about the squad and you see the talent – and I coach the academy so I see the squad every day. There is big talent there.
“I had a conversation with Jack Breen last year and I told him he should have overtaken me. I should be on the bench and just coming on to shore games up. They need to kick on and have that drive to be better. They can’t accept being on the bench and being happy being a sub.”