Hamilton must be mentally tough, says Canning ahead of derby

Martin Canning
Martin Canning's Hamilton lost 2-1 at Inverness on Saturday

Hamilton Academical manager Martin Canning has urged his players to show the "mental strength" required to secure Scottish Premiership safety.

Accies are 10th in the division - ahead of Motherwell on goal difference and four points better off than bottom club Inverness Caledonian Thistle.

Canning accepts Saturday's Lanarkshire derby with Well is "a must-win".

"Now, it becomes a little bit more intense just because you're running out of time," Canning told BBC Scotland.

"When you look how tight the league is and how tight the league's been all season, it was always going to go to this stage.

"It's been a competitive league and for us now, it's a big week. We need to go and make sure we go and get our job done.

Georgios Sarris and Scott McDonald
The Lanarkshire rivals drew 0-0 at Fir Park last month

"We've won two, drawn two and lost two of our last six, so it just tells you how difficult it is to win games in this league as well and how competitive the league is, how evenly matched a lot of the teams are.

"One thing either way wins it or loses it. What we've got to make sure we do is have the mental strength to go and cope with that side of the game because that's the most important part now, probably, at this stage."

Canning replaced Alex Neil as boss midway through season 2014-15 and Hamilton finished that campaign comfortably above the Premiership play-off place (11th) and the automatic relegation spot (12th).

However last season, they were 10th.

"You can lean on it, you can take from it," said Canning of using his experience of last season.

Premiership bottom three remaining fixtures
HamiltonMotherwellInverness CT
Motherwell (h) 13 MayHamilton (a) 13 MayKilmarnock (a) 13 May
Ross County (a) 16 MayKilmarnock (h) 16 MayDundee (a) 17 May
Dundee (h) 20 MayInverness CT (a) 20 MayMotherwell (a) 20 May

"You can maybe not get too anxious or anything because you know if you get your job done, you'll be fine. It's still in our hands, we've got to go and win games now.

"Motherwell have lost the last two along with ourselves, so both teams go into this game desperate for three points and the importance of this now on Saturday is huge.

"It's a must-win now for us. Points won't keep you up, wins will keep you up so we need to make sure now we approach the game with a mentality that it's a must-win game for us.

"There should be no motivation needed, it should be a case of they should be ready to go.

"Hopefully, my job on Saturday isn't so much trying to motivate and inspire as opposed to trying to get them ready and keep them composed."

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