Dec 11 2008 by Andrew McGilvray, Hamilton Advertiser
HAMILTON Accies have received a major boost with news that striker Richard Offiong has signed a two-year contract extension.
Offiong, who turns age 25 on December 17, put pen to paper yesterday (Wednesday), tying him to the New Douglas Park club until 2010.
It’s further good news for the striker, who became a first-time dad on Sunday morning when partner Carli gave birth to their son Andre Jackson Offiong.
Having his star striker settled will be good news for boss Billy Reid, who is looking for Accies to use Saturday’s 7-1 thumping by Rangers as a spur against Hibs at Easter Road this weekend.
Billy knows that won’t be easy against a side that dumped champions Celtic 2-0 on Sunday, but he reckons Accies deserved more than a 1-0 defeat against Mixu Paatelainen’s men back in September.
He said: “I’ll be looking for a reaction from the players after Saturday, but we go into the game with confidence anyway.
“We felt as though we performed pretty well against Hibs at our place but didn’t take anything from the game.
“They’ve been a bit up and down, I think by their own admission, but they’re a big, big club and had a great result on Sunday.
“Hibs have got good front players, they’ve got guys that can score goals, and you can see the strength of their squad that they can leave Derek Riordan sitting on the bench against Celtic.
“But they can also be strong at the back when they have to be, and in Chris Hogg and Rob Jones they’ve got a decent central defensive partnership.
“But if we play to our potential there’s no reason why we can’t take something from the game.”
Reid knows Hamilton have to bounce back, and quickly, from Saturday’s demolition, but was straight to the point about the defeat.
He said: “At 7-1 you’d think that everybody’s downbeat, but you’ve got to look for answers and there were some for us.
“I thought we looked a threat going forward against Rangers, which was a big, big plus compared to the Co-operative Insurance Cup game, but we didn’t defend well.
“I think 2-1 was probably a fair reflection on the first half because we had made a couple of half-chances through Joel Thomas, and Chris Swailes had a shot over the bar, so we were well in the game.
“We said to the players at half-time that the next goal would be crucial because the longer it stayed 2-1 the more Rangers and the crowd would get edgy.
“But five minutes into the second half – as seems to be the case for us – we were punished for a mistake.”
That mistake was when Martin Canning was judged to have fouled Kris Boyd in the box and the ex-Scotland striker made it 3-1 from the spot after the defender had been sent off.
But Billy said: “I don’t think the sending off had a bearing on the result, although it did have a bearing on the scoreline – we got battered for the last 15 or 20 minutes against a team that was hungry to score goals, with 50,000 people shouting them on.”
Reid firmly believes, however, that Hamilton just aren’t getting any breaks in the SPL.
He said: “We feel that in the last five or six games we’ve done OK and we’ve taken the lead against the Old Firm three times now but lost all three games.
“We’ve started the game well, and in the right manner, but we just don’t seem to be getting a rub of the green at the moment.
“I also think the sending off decision was really disappointing and harsh, but if the referee has deemed that Martin has pulled Boyd down – and you could argue that maybe he got a touch on the ball – then that is the rule.
“At the end of the day Martin’s been sent off, he’s now suspended, and that gives David Elebert a chance to come in.
“He was left out against Kilmarnock for tactical reasons but with Martin being sent off on Saturday that now works against us.”
Reid confirmed this week that former Aberdeen and Dundee United striker Robbie Winters was this week training with the club following his return from Norwegian football with Brann Bergen.
But he said any negotiations with the 34-year-old are at an early stage.
Reid said: “Robbie trained on Tuesday with us and is a class player whose pedigree speaks for itself.
“He’s looking for a club in January, we have a link through his brother David, and I spoke to his agent about bringing him in.”