MX23RW : Wednesday, June 23 22:26:36| >> :600:2552942:2552942:
May 16, 2021 at 12pm UK at Fountain of Youth Stadium
HamiltonHamilton Academical

Martin (72')
FT(HT: 0-2)
Pinnock (9', 44')
Dicker (35'), Haunstrup (47'), Kiltie (57'), Oakley (90+3')

Preview: Hamilton Academical vs. Kilmarnock - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Sunday's Scottish Premiership clash between Hamilton Academical and Kilmarnock, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Kilmarnock's fate is out of their hands going into the final day of the Scottish Premiership season as they travel to Hamilton Academical.

Killie are currently in 11th – the relegation playoff spot – and are three points behind Ross County, but they have a better goal difference, while Hamilton's own relegation was all but confirmed on Wednesday night.

Match preview

General view of Rugby Park, home to Kilmarnock, from 2011© Reuters

If Ross County get even a point at Motherwell on Sunday, Kilmarnock will have to face a playoff against Dundee to keep their top-flight status, regardless of their result at New Douglas Park.

A run of two wins in 14 matches – which includes eight successive defeats in January and February – has plunged the East Ayrshire outfit into deep trouble and put them at risk of dropping into the second tier for the first time since 1993; only two years ago they finished third and played European football.

A dramatic 3-3 draw was played out between Killie and St Mirren on Wednesday night, as Tommy Wright's side led 2-0 after 62 minutes through a Kyle Lafferty double; they had several chances to wrap up the victory but ultimately poor defending cost them at Rugby Park.

No side in the bottom half has scored more goals than Kilmarnock (41) this season yet far too often they have been caught out defensively.

In order to confirm safety at New Douglas Park, they will have to fix their abysmal away record; Killie have lost all of their seven league fixtures on the road in 2021 and scored just 11 away goals all season.

The visitors have already beaten Hamilton twice this season, but both of those victories came at Rugby Park, while they have not picked up three points in South Lanarkshire in their last four trips since April 2018.

Kilmarnock's draw with St Mirren, along with Hamilton's 2-1 defeat to Ross County, all but confirmed that the Accies will finish bottom and will play in the Scottish Championship next season for the first time in seven years.

Brian Rice's side are three points behind Killie but are 18 goals worse off on goal difference so would need a nine goal win on Sunday to deliver a miracle.

They had the better of the chances against Ross County and led through Scott McMann after 26 minutes but were punished by strikes just outside of the box from Blair Spittal and Charlie Lakin and lost for the third time in four matches.

Rice, who has been in charge since January 2019, said that everyone was "absolutely devastated" at dropping into the second tier.

Hamilton have not won at New Douglas Park since January 2 when they beat Motherwell 3-0; one of just two home victories this season. They have scored just 13 times on home turf.

Hamilton Academical Scottish Premiership form:
  • L
  • D
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • L

Hamilton Academical form (all competitions):
  • D
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • L

Kilmarnock Scottish Premiership form:
  • L
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • L
  • D

Kilmarnock form (all competitions):
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • D

Team News

Hamilton Academical manager Brian Rice pictured in August 2020© Reuters

Ronan Hughes is available for selection again for Hamilton after a serving a two-game ban for his red card against Motherwell last month.

Captain Brian Easton returned to the side in midweek following an injury and will lead the Accies out in their last game in the top flight.

Bruce Anderson started his loan spell at New Douglas Park from Aberdeen in superb form in February but now he has not scored in his last nine appearances.

If there is to be a Kilmarnock hero then it will surely be Lafferty, who has 12 goals in 10 games since his arrival in February, making him the club's top scorer for the whole season in just that short space of time.

Calum Waters assisted one of Lafferty's goals in midweek in what was the left-back's first league appearance since December, so he should keep his place.

Wright has no injury or suspension worries ahead of this crunch game for Killie.

Hamilton Academical possible starting lineup:
Gourlay; Hamilton, Martin, Easton; Odoffin; Hodson, Callachan, Mimnaugh, McMann; Moyo, Anderson

Kilmarnock possible starting lineup:
Rogers; Millen, Broadfoot, Rossi, Waters; Burke, Power, Dicker, Pinnock; Lafferty, Kiltie

SM words green background

We say: Hamilton Academical 1-2 Kilmarnock

Hamilton will want to do themselves justice as their seven-year stay in the top flight comes to an end, but Kilmarnock simply must win and we believe they will do just that – particularly with Lafferty on top of his game; then it will be down to events at Fir Park to decide Killie's fate.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting over 1.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 1.5:data

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St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright pictured in January 2016
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