Hamilton: Chairman Les Gray dreaming of top six finish

Hamilton Academical chairman Les Gray admits the club may have to reassess their season target after a blistering start to the campaign.

The newly-promoted Accies are top of the Scottish Premiership after a first victory at Celtic Park in 76 years.

"I don't think it gets better than this for us to be honest," Gray told BBC Scotland.

"We started the season looking to stay in the league, that is our priority, top six would be beyond our dreams."

Alex Neil's men, who came through a penalty shoot-out in May's play-off final, have lost just once this term - on the opening day against Inverness.

"I think the boys should enjoy it while it lasts," added Gray. "They've worked very hard and Alex has done a terrific job with a young group who have a lot of potential.

"If we're to aim for a top six position and get the budget that goes with that, then that allows us to get more money to plough into our youth set-up."

The 1-0 triumph over champions Celtic on Sunday, courtesy of Ali Crawford's strike, highlighted the job player-boss Neil has done at New Douglas Park despite a modest budget.

The 33-year-old replaced Billy Reid in April 2013 with the Lanarkshire club toiling to regain its place in the top flight.

However, less than a year-and-a-half later, the Accies are looking down on all the rest.

"Alex has been part of this for eight or nine years and groomed as an under-17 manager, under-20 manager, now the first team coach and player," explained Gray.

"He's played with a lot of these boys and brought them through, and I think he finished the game (at Celtic Park) with eight academy players on the pitch.

Ali Crawford (right) celebrates with his Accies teammates after scoring the winner against Celtic
Ali Crawford (right) celebrates with his Accies teammates after scoring the winner against Celtic

"A lot is said about budgets and money, but that doesn't really come into it for us, we've got a model that works for us.

"We bring kids in at a very young age and they're not paid a lot of money but are highly incentivised to get to the first team, to win.

"I think that's the way we will continue to progress and if that doesn't work and we end up in the bottom tier we'll still do it our way.

"We won't change our philosophy."

Manager Neil hailed "a magnificent win" over Celtic and was keen to point out that his charges had merited the victory.

"We went there with a game-plan," he told BBC Scotland. "I had belief in the players and said to them before the match that if they played to their full potential we had an opportunity to go and get something from the game - and that's the way it happened.

"At Celtic Park you're always going to have to ride your luck.

"First half they didn't have a great deal, a couple of bits and bobs. Second half they had a few real good opportunities where they will probably think they should have done better, but as the game wore on we had some good opportunities ourselves. I think our opportunities are ones we really should score."

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