Match Preview Ayr United vs. Hamilton Academical Betfred Cup Group G Saturday 16th July 2016. Kick-off 3pm
Just 62 days on from clinching promotion to the Championship, Ayr United return to competitive action on Saturday as they kick-off Season 2016/17 at home to Hamilton Academical in the new-look Betfred Cup.
Just one side from Group G is guaranteed to progress to the second round of the Cup, meaning both sides will be looking to get off to a strong start. Ian McCall’s starting line-up is likely to have a familiar look to it, with the gaffer’s priority to re-sign the stars of last season’s campaign but a couple of new faces could make their home debut.
Martin Canning’s Accies finished 10th in the Premiership last season, 9 points clear of Kilmarnock and the relegation play-off, however, their League Cup campaign ended at the first hurdle with a 2-1 defeat away to Raith Rovers. Northern Ireland’s Euro 2016 hero Michael McGovern has left the Lanarkshire club meaning former United ‘keeper Alan Martin is set to start between the posts and the combative Darian MacKinnon should also feature. The former Clydebank forward played 8 games for the Honest Men in 2012 on loan from Accies, scoring 3 goals.
Also in Group G on Saturday, St. Mirren travel to face Livingston with SPFL new boys Edinburgh City not in action.
Team News: Michael Rose is out with a hamstring injury however should be fine within a week. Mikey Donald is 50/50 however is likely not to be risked to be fit for Tuesday night.
Ian says: “This is the earliest we have ever started and we are short of personnel and match fitness however every club will be in the same position. We are awaiting clearance for Andy O’Connell and Jamie Thomas and if it comes through both will be in the squad. The League Cup is a great competition so despite the fact our focus is on the league season starting we want to give it a real go to qualify. At Somerset Park we will look to win every time we play and tomorrow will be no different.”
Head-to-Head: Ayr United wins – 53 Draws – 42 Hamilton wins – 59
Saturday will be the 155th meeting between the sides – United have only faced Kilmarnock and Morton on more occasions. Honours are even in the nine previous League Cup ties, with four wins each and one draw,
Last meeting: Ayr and Hamilton last faced each other in Season 2011/12 when they shared 17 goals over four league matches. Hamilton were unbeaten at Somerset with one draw and a win, the last meeting between the sides at the end of April 2012. Mark Roberts opened the scoring for the Honest Men but Accies netted twice either side of a red card for Eddie Malone. Michael McGowan hit back immediately for 10-men Ayr but we couldn’t hold on for the win – Jon McShane netting in the 89th minute for the visitors.
Referee – William Collum
Assistant Referee 1 – Mark McLean
Assistant Referee 2 – Callum Spence
Adults – £12
Concessions – £6
Ayr – 10/3, Draw 14/5, Accies – 4/5