Sunday, February 22, 2009

Hamilton boss Praises 'sublime' James McCarthy

Hamilton prodigy James McCarthy polished his credentials as one of Scottish football's best young talents again at Falkirk on Saturday with a moment of magic to help Accies take all three points.

The 18-year-old midfielder, who has been capped at under-21 level for Ireland, picked up the young player of the month award for January and has carried on his good form as Billy Reid's side continue their unlikely progress up the Clydesdale Bank Premier League.

With 15 minutes remaining at The Falkirk Stadium, and the game tied at 1-1, McCarthy set up Paul McGowan to score the winning goal with the most delicate of chipped passes.

Reid, who seems to have spent almost every week of the club's first season in the SPL praising the youngster, was left once again grasping for superlatives.

"In the last eight or nine weeks he has been fantastic," Reid said.

"In every game he plays he produces a bit of skill.

"His pass and movement with McGowan for the goal was fantastic.

"He is sublime at times but he works back the way as well. His consistency for a young player is astonishing."

Accies defender Chris Swailes, who scored an almost comical own goal to gift Falkirk the lead before Simon Mensing spared his blushes by grabbing the equaliser, was the latest team-mate of McCarthy to predict big things for the teenager.

"He is a promising lad and I think he will hit the heights," the Englishman said.

"Whether he stays in Scotland remains to be seen but the world is his oyster.

"I imagine Hamilton's problem will be holding on to him.

"As long as he is playing well for us then that is great but there will be a few people knocking on the door."

Tipped as relegation candidates before the season kicked off, Hamilton find themselves fighting for a top-six spot after a sticky start and Reid praised his players for adapting to the rigours of the SPL.

"It has taken us to halfway through the season to learn to win games and now we are doing that regularly," he said.

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