Hamilton Accies boss to celebrate rapid return to Championship with fast food

Hamilton Accies boss John Rankin secured a rapid return to the Championship - and says he'll celebrate with some fast food.

The South Lanarkshire side are partying in the Highlands tonight after a superb display at the Caledonian Stadium earned them a 3-2 victory and 5-3 aggregate triumph over Inverness in the Championship play-off final.

It ensures an immediate return to the second tier after last season's relegation in the play-offs on penalties to Airdrieonians.

And the sides will now be reunited in the Championship next season after Accies earned their place with a dominant display over the two legs.

The Accies players and fans got the party started with some singing and dancing on the pitch at full-time, but Rankin - who is teetotal and watches what he eats - says he will let loose by grabbing a McDonalds on the way back down the A9.

Asked by BBC Alba how we would celebrate, the Accies boss said: "Last time somebody asked me that question, I said I was going to have a fourth child but I can guarantee that is not going to happen.

"I might stop at McDonald's on the way home and celebrate, that'll be it.

"I am delighted for the players. They gave us everything. They work so tirelessly throughout the week, so to get that today I am delighted for the players, the board - who have been brilliant - and the supporters. It has been a long season. Let's be honest, we set out to win the league and we didn't do that.

"We knew early doors we weren't going to win it so it was a case of could we reinvent our purpose and what we were trying to achieve. We were excellent."

A 2-1 victory at New Douglas Park in midweek gave them the foundations for an assured showing, where they caught Caley Thistle out early once again. Just as he did in the first leg, Kevin O'Hara netted from distance against Mark Ridgers and when his eighth minute strike gave them the lead, it took just four minutes for Lewis Smith to add to it with a sensational strike.

Cammy Kerr's fine effort in 31 minutes gave the Jags a glimmer of hope before O'Hara was spot on with a penalty approaching half-time to extinguish any hope for Duncan Ferguson's side, who did manage a stoppage time consolation through Alex Samuel.

Rankin added: "We studied hard and we thought Caley would try to hit us early doors so it was a case of could we surprise them, try and play in their half and try to get an early goal.

"To the boys' credit they went and did that. Kev's early goal obviously settled the nerves and after that Smithy's goal was great. We thought we could get Smithy coming off his left side from a corner and it worked a treat.

"We were a wee bit shaky conceding the goal but to get the penalty and for Kev to step up and show that character at that stage of the game was great. In the second half we felt very comfortable at times but you always knew one goal could change that."

Two-goal hero O'Hara, who took his tally for the season to 20 goals, beamed: "It was a good day. We knew it was going to be difficult coming up here because they were probably the better side in the second half of the first leg. We knew they were dangerous but just had to stick to the gameplan we had in the first half on Wednesday night and we did that.

"We tired a bit tired towards the end because we put so much into it but two goals to send us back to the Championship is what I was brought here for. We knew if we got the first goal it would kill the crowd a wee bit here so we are glad we got that goal early.

"It was a good second goal from Smithy as well. We actually worked on that in the training ground yesterday, and to stick the penalty away as well I was delighted."

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