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Apr 27, 2019 at 3pm UK at The Hope CBD Stadium (Hamilton)
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Brian Rice praises Marios Ogkmpoe's return after 11-month layoff

Brian Rice praises Marios Ogkmpoe's return after 11-month layoff
© Reuters
The striker has missed 11 months of action.

Hamilton manager Brian Rice praised the performance of Marios Ogkmpoe after the striker made his first start in almost a year in Saturday's 3-3 draw with Livingston.

The Greek recently returned to action after an 11-month lay-off with a knee injury and formed a potent forward partnership with George Oakley as Accies went into a two-goal lead.

With Ogkmpoe tiring and less effective after the break, he was replaced in the 76th minute but Rice felt he had made a decent contribution.

He told Accies TV: "I wasn't sure whether to start Marios or not as I don't think he's ready yet.

"I knew I would only get an hour out of him and I ended up getting a little bit more than I had expected. In the first half I think he was excellent.

"He was putting them under pressure, running with the ball, and winning his headers with George playing off him.

"They caused a lot of problems to Livingston. But he ran out of steam a bit in the second half."

The result leaves Hamilton two points clear of the relegation play-off spot with a crucial game against bottom side Dundee next weekend.

Rice added: "It's very important. An extra two points (on Saturday) would have been massive but it wasn't to be. So we just roll up our sleeves and get back to work and prepare for next week again."

Livingston manager Gary Holt accepted the blame for the imbalanced performance from his side after they fell two behind, scored three quick goals to move in front, before conceding an equaliser.

But having secured their Ladbrokes Premiership status last month, Holt admitted he experimented a little bit with tactics and personnel.

He said: "We'll take it on the chin as staff as we have to have a look at the players who are here and going to be here next season.

"We're fortunate that we can try different systems, formations and players and you know you might have to suck it up when it comes to conceding goals.

"We don't want to do that to the detriment of the team but we accept that we might get caught out when forward thinking players are back in defensive areas."

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Gary Holt in charge of Falkirk in November 2013
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