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2014/15 Scottish Premier League, 2014/2015 Scottish Premier League
  • Ali Crawford (83')

Buddies go down with a whimper

St Mirren bowed out of the Scottish Premiership with a 1-0 defeat at Hamilton in Gary Teale's last game in charge before Ian Murray steps into the Buddies hot-seat.
A clinical finish from Ali Crawford five minutes from time was enough for Martin Canning's men to claim a deserved win, and a decent-sized home crowd lauded their heroes at the end of the match for a fine first season back in the top-flight.
With the visitors already relegated and Hamilton assured of seventh place, there was little to play for in the match on the face of it, however the home side were hoping to sign off on a high in front of their own support, while the St Mirren players would have been looking to impress their incoming manager.
Former St Mirren winger Dougie Imrie was lively early on for the hosts, and he played a lovely ball over the top of the visiting defence for the on-rushing Greg Docherty, who would have been in on goal but for a careless touch that took him slightly wide and allowed defenders to get back and clear.
The first chance for the visitors came from a set-piece, with James Dayton's in-swinging delivery being met on the volley by Jack Baird but flashing past Michael McGovern's left-hand post.
Young Hamilton forward Eamonn Brophy then did well to escape a defender and set up a shooting opportunity on the edge of the area for Crawford, the midfielder's swerving effort stinging the palms of Marian Kello as the goalkeeper managed to divert the ball to safety.
St Mirren went close to opening the scoring after a great solo run by Sean Kelly saw him evade several challenges before being bundled over 25 yards from goal by Lucas Tagliapietra. Stevie Mallan lined up the kick and crashed a wonderful left-foot effort off the bar with McGovern beaten.
It was then Hamilton's turn to test the woodwork, and again it was a free-kick that presented the opportunity, Jesus Garcia-Tena curling an effort from 20 yards that had Kello scrambling across his goal to the left before it cannoned back off the post.
Crawford then played a nice one-two with Imrie as he burst forward from midfield, but from a good position his final effort lacked sufficient power to really trouble Kello.
Louis Longridge had the goalkeeper slightly more concerned just prior to the break, his shot from inside the area going through Jason Naismith's legs before being clawed away by the unsighted Buddies goalkeeper.
Despite there being no lack of efforts on goal in the first period, particularly from Hamilton, there was a distinct end-of-season feeling about the match, and the second half started quietly with little goalmouth action to speak of. The only effort of note in the opening 20 minutes of the half was a turn and shot from Imrie that Kello was happy enough to watch trundle past his left-hand post.
The St Mirren goalkeeper had a let-off when he came to collect a floated high ball from Imrie into the six-yard box and dropped it under pressure from Tagliapietra, but referee Craig Thomson blew for a soft-looking foul to let the Slovakian off the hook.
A rare foray forward by the visitors saw Naismith break free on the right, but with men over in the middle in good positions the full-back elected to hang onto the ball for far too long, allowing Scott McMann the chance to get back and force the ball back off Naismith for a goal-kick.
Just when it looked as though the game would drift to a goalless conclusion, Crawford popped up to round off a miserable season for the visitors by inflicting another defeat upon them.
St Mirren gave the midfielder far too much time on the edge of the penalty area, and he got his head up to easily curl the ball past the static Kello into the left-hand corner of the net for his 11th goal of a successful campaign for both the player and his team.

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