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Gary Woods: ‘Hamilton given license to express ourselves’

Gary Woods: ‘Hamilton given license to express ourselves’

Brian Rice has encouraged his side to play attacking football.

Hamilton goalkeeper Gary Woods believes they can and will enjoy their survival battle against St Johnstone after being given licence to express themselves by head coach Brian Rice.

Accies have secured half of their 30 Ladbrokes Premiership points under Rice since the former Hibernian midfielder took charge two thirds of the way through the campaign.

A four-match unbeaten run took them to the brink of safety but defeat by St Mirren on Monday, after having Alex Gogic sent off in the first half, has kept Accies in the frame for a play-off.

However, Accies know they will stay up for a sixth consecutive season in the top flight if they better St Mirren’s result at Dundee on Saturday, and Woods is sure they will approach their task with relish.

Woods said: “Since the gaffer has come in he has been a breath of fresh air. He wants the lads to go out and enjoy themselves and express themselves and that’s what the lads have done. Our results have picked up, we have been more consistent.

“He says every game, ‘just go out and enjoy yourselves, it’s a game of football, you have the best job in the world so go and enjoy it’.

“That’s what the lads are going to do. I think that’s why the results have picked up, we have looked better playing more football and less direct and the lads have been enjoying their football.”

Accies avoided a play-off on goal difference last season after losing nine of their last 10 games to finish with 33 points.

That tally is their target on Saturday and Woods knows his team-mates will go out to put their fate beyond doubt rather than keep an eye on St Mirren’s score.

Woods added: “Every game the manager wants to attack. At St Mirren, we were down to 10 men early so we didn’t really see that, but he has given the lads a licence. If you run forward you have to run back quicker, but he has given the lads licence to go and attack.

“I think that’s why we have picked up more points than last year in the split. Last year we won one game and lost the rest. We are still coming down to the last game even though we have won one and drawn two, that’s just the nature of the league.

“But we are in this position because over the course of the season we have not been good enough. We have one last chance to keep ourselves up and we will all be looking forward to the game.”

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