Brian Rice says Hamilton win over Ayr ‘really important’
Hamilton head coach Brian Rice hailed birthday boy Marios Ogkmpoe after he set them on their way to a vital Betfred Cup group stage win over Ayr United.
Rice said it was cause for a double celebration, as he turns 57 on Sunday.
Hamilton had to win to keep their chances of progressing through their group alive after losing their opening game to League Two outfit Annan Athletic.
But they bounced back to clinch a vital win following first half goals from Ogkmpoe, his first of the season on his 26th birthday, and Charlie Trafford’s first for the club.
There was a nervous finish when Ayr’s Michael Moffat pulled one back with 20 minutes remaining but Hamilton saw the game out to clinch three precious points.
Rice said: “I’m happy we won the match. It was really important for us.
“It was our first home win — I’ll say it before any of you say it.
“That’s got the monkey off our back and one of our strikers has scored.
“Losing to Annan is history and tomorrow morning this has gone.
“The most important thing is the boys bounced back, we got the victory and stay in the competition.
“Marios got a goal on his birthday, it’s my birthday tomorrow (Sunday), so hopefully it’s a good weekend.
“Charlie has had to wait for his chance. I thought he did pretty well and took his goal well.”
Ayr United manager Mark Kerr was pleased with his side’s display.
Kerr said: “We started the game well and missed two or three really good chances in the first 15 minutes.
“It was a sucker punch to get hit with two in a row quite quickly.
“But we didn’t let our head go down, we kept ourselves in the game and second half we were at it.
“It’s a new team and we asked questions of Hamilton. There were a lot of positives.”