Jan 17 2013 by Andrew McGilvray, Hamilton Advertiser
Hamilton Accies boss Billy Reid has been left with a major headache after captain Alex Neil was handed a three-match ban for picking up his THIRD red card of the season.
But the New Douglas Park boss says the combative midfielder will always be his captain, and that every team needs a player of his type and quality.
Reid said: “My leader, my captain, has been sent off but he hasn’t done a lot wrong. There wasn’t a bad tackle in the game.
“Alex Neil is the captain of this club, and he will remain captain.
“Alex is the type of guy that plays on the edge, and I wish I had more people who played like that.
“If you go through all the big teams in the world they’ve all had guys like that. Alex Ferguson would tell you that guys like Roy Keane and Eric Cantona would get sent off, but you’d want them in your team.
“We don’t want him to get sent off, and he was gutted in the dressing room after the game. He knows he’s been a wee bit foolish, but if those tackles are there I expect Alex to go in and win them, and I don’t want him to change that.
“I’m as frustrated as anybody else, because I’m losing my captain again for three weeks.
“I’ve now got a settled team here, we’ve made good progress and have lost one in nine. We’re picking up points and I’m thinking we could give anybody a game – but now I’ve lost one of my most influential players.”
Neil will miss the trip to face Raith Rovers at Stark’s Park as a result of Saturday’s red card, plus the next two games away to Dumbarton and at home to Dunfermline due to his previous two dismissals.
Reid said: “It will give somebody else a chance to go and stand up. Kevin Cuthbert, Martin Canning and Jonathan Page come into contention, but we’ll just have to get on with it.”
Reid was pleased with Saturday’s 2-1 home win over Cowdenbeath, which pulled Accies three points clear of the Fifers with two games in hand. He said: “I’m happy that we’ve won at home without playing as well as we can, because there were times this season when we played well and took nothing from the game.
“We didn’t treat the game in the right manner in the first half, although they scored with their first real foray into the box, and at that stage they were comfortable.
“We had possession but didn’t do the right things and didn’t get forward, and when we did our crossing into the box wasn’t good enough
“In the second half we started to create chances, there was an urgency about us and Stevie May came alive. Jon Page got his third goal in 12 games, and May showed what he can do.”
Looking ahead to Saturday’s Kirkcaldy clash against a side that has beaten Accies home and away this season, Reid said: “I think we’ve got a massive point to prove against Raith Rovers.
“I thought we were robbed in the first game of the season, there wasn’t a lot in the game here when they nicked it 1-0, so I think we’ve got a huge point to prove up at Kirkcaldy.”