Their flight might’ve been delayed at Edinburgh Airport pre-match, but Hamilton’s SPFL Trust Trophy defence took off in fine fashion with a hard-fought win over Coleraine.
John Rankin's side were sweating on making the game yesterday morning when delays left their plans up in the air.
A 'runway incident' delayed their 9.30am flight by around an hour and 15 minutes and kick-off for the clash at The Showgrounds was delayed by 45 minutes as a result.
But they didn't let that affect them as they brushed the Northern Irish Premiership outfit aside, in front of the 200 or so Accies fans who made the trip across the Irish Sea.
Accies, who defeated Raith Rovers in last season's final to lift their first cup for 30 years, maintained their unbeaten start to the campaign, with goals from Lewis Smith, Dario Zanatta and Jamie Barjonas sending them into round four.
Boss Rankin said: “I’m delighted with the performance.
"Logistically, it was a nightmare if I am being honest as our flight was delayed and that then led to kick-off being delayed because of that.
“I have to give the players credit for their professionalism which was never in doubt – but they went out and adapted to the circumstances and got through it.
“We’re all delighted to get into the next round as it’s been a long and tough day.
"We weathered the storm a bit in the second-half, which was expected and the players felt the backing from the fans who were incredible.
“It was the hardest tie we could’ve got but we’ve got a trophy to defend.”
Lewis Smith put the visitors in front after 10 minutes when he cut inside on the right and caressed a precise effort into the far corner.
Coleraine restored parity midway through the first-half when some good work from Matthew Shevlin saw him slide the ball through to ex-Accie Lee Lynch, who finished smartly past Hamilton goalkeeper Jamie Smith.
Lynch then spurned a gilt-edged chance from point-blank range after Conor McKendry’s cross fortuitously deflected into his path.
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Oran Kearney’s side were left to rue their own profligacy as Hamilton restored their advantage courtesy of Dario Zanatta. Smith was again instrumental for the visitors as his lung-bursting run down the right ended with a wicked back-post cross that was slammed home from 10-yards.
McKendry was perhaps fortunate not to receive a red card for a reckless tackle, before Dean Jarvis’ cross-come-shot was frantically clawed off the line by Smith.
Lyndon Kane passed up yet another glaring opportunity for Coleraine as he blazed over unmarked and in acres of space, and substitute Jamie Barjonas steered home a quick counter-attack from close-range after good work by Kevin O’Hara and Smith to secure their place in Thursday's fourth round draw.
Coleraine boss Oran Kearney said: “I think for large spells there was very little in the game, but you’ve got to give credit to Hamilton as they were ruthless and took their opportunities.
"We can’t complain about the amount of chances we have created but what we can complain about is that we weren’t ruthless enough and it’s as simple as that.”
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