Hamilton making a point about league reconstruction again

Hamilton have progressed since their promotion from the SPFL Championshio
Hamilton have progressed since their promotion from the SPFL Championshio

Les Gray, the Hamilton Accies chairman, was central to the long-running saga over league reconstruction a couple of years ago.

His was a strong voice in the debate and negotiaions but it is now, that he is not speaking or debating the subject so frequently or so publicly, that his influence is being felt in that great exhaustive debate.

With Hamilton sitting comfortably, and that is the surprising thing, at the top of the SPFL Premiership table, the case for an expanded top division could not be stronger.

Remember, these league leaders, currently in the Champions League slot after a quarter of a season, were a matter of moments away from defeat to Hibernian and another year in the second-tier with Falkirk, Alloa, and Dumbarton. Now Hibs are in the doldrums and Hamilton Accies (ever noticed how he’ll always give the club their full title?) are the Premier League pioneers.

Hamilton were a good team last term. Not a great one, but a good one. They didn’t romp away with the league, indeed, they didn’t even win it. When considering the strength of teams Falkirk have faced in the second tier since relegation in 2010, Hamilton last year would rank highly - they are after all very strong, and stronger still with Michael McGovern in goal and a few others growing up.

If the second tier’s runners up, who pushed past a very poor Hibs team - just - can light up the Premiership like Accies have done, what’s to say others couldn’t?

There’s no question the size of the clubs sharing the league table with Falkirk like Hearts, Hibs and Rangers would add to the top division and strengthen it. Falkirk could too.

But in a football sense Hamilton have shown an expanded league does not equate to a dilution of talent or quality. They are proof for the play-offs. They are surprising everyone.

We’ve seen teams make great starts to the season - Alex McLeish’s Hibs, George Burley’s Hearts to name but two, before falling away. And now Alex Neil’s Hamilton Accies have done the same. Can they sustain it? Probably not, but they certainly won’t go down. They’re not the cannon fodder the play-off winners were expected to be and they’re proof of Gray’s point back in those days of limbo that it was time to shake up Scottish football.