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Football: BAZ' SHARD TAY' SNIGHTAY'SNIGHT; Losing Jim is so Duff to take but I can keep us on song says Smith HAMILTON 1 DUNDEE 1.

Byline: By Anthony Haggerty

DUNDEE skipper Barry Smith revealed he was determined to lift his shell-shocked team-mates after the latest turmoil at the Dens Park club.

Smith, a survivor of the nightmare spell of financial crisis and relegation with the Dark Blues, admitted the players had been left reeling at the midweek sacking of boss Jim Duffy.

And although disappointed not to grab all three points at New Douglas Park, he reckoned a draw was not a bad result in the circumstances.

Smith said: "It has been a mentally straining week so taking a point away against Accies is not such a bad result for us.

"Going to Stranraer and losing in the CIS Cup and then the manager being sacked was a real shock to everybody. Nobody at the club saw it coming.

"Training was a bit subdued due to the shock of the gaffer leaving.

"But we are professionals and you have to concentrate on the next game and we worked hard against Hamilton.We are disappointed to concede a goal to deny us the win.

"Our confidence is not low as we are sitting at the top end of the table and performances may not be brilliant but we are getting results."

Smith was particularly hard hit by Duffy's departure as he had formed a tight bond with the boss who first took him to the Tayside club from Celtic in December 1995 in a deal that saw Dane Morten Wieghorst go to Parkhead.

When Duffy left Dens Park a year later to take charge at Easter Road, Smith accepted itwas a career choice but hewas delighted when his former boss returned in the summer of 2002 as Ivano Bonetti's replacement.

However, the club skipper found it harder to accept the circumstances of Duffy's second departure.

He said: "The first time Jim left the club it was to go to Hibs and that was his choice. It was not his choice this time. I have not had the chance to speak to him but he came into the dressing room the day hewas sacked and wished all the boys all the best individually.

"That just typifies the kind of man he is.

"He never had a bad word to say to the players or the Dundee board and he wants us to go on and win this league and get back into the SPL.

"Jim and myself have been through many tough times together at this club and it ispart and parcel of football. "Any manager will tell you the only certainty in this game is they will get sacked or will eventually leave.

"It is not a nice thing but that is the only sure thing in football."

Simon Lynch put Dundee in the driving seat against Accies but the Dens men struggled for long spells and a stunning 20-yard strike from Brian Carrigan gave the home side a point.

And that result, coupled with Ross County's win over Stranraer, saw the Dingwall side knock the Dark Blues off their perch at the top of the First Division table.

In truth Accies deserved to win after dominating the match for long spells and creating a host of opportunities they contrived to miss.

Ex-Celt Lynch bagged his sixth in as many matches against the run of play in the 36th minute whenhe netted from close range following excellent wing play on the left by Steven Robb.

However, Accies got the reward their display merited in the 67th minute when Carrigan curled home a beautiful equaliser from outside the box.

It was his first goal of the campaign and he reckons it is one of the best in his career.

Carrigan said: "That was the only place I could have placed my shot and it was a cracking goal. It rates as one of the best I have scored.'The striker reckons Accies have adopted a more professional approach since turning full-time.

He said: "I mean no disrespect to the last regime but everything has changed since we went full-time.

"It is small things like eating the right things after training and we are all feeling the benefits.That only bodes well for the future."

Accies boss Billy Reid, who lost influential striker Paul McLeod with a torn hamstring, said: "I felt we might have shaded it for three points.

"Losing Paul was a real blow because our season so far has been a catalogue of injuries."

Dundee caretaker Gerry Britton was in charge at New Douglas Park but he is not sure what the future holds.

He said: "There is a huge void since Jim Duffy left as he was a big part of the club.

"I have been told to prepare the team for Tuesday's match with Ross County and nothing more

CAPTION(S):

OFF THE MARK: Lynch races away after his opener; HE'S FLIPPED: Brian; Carrigan goes over the top with his goal celebration after his stunning equaliser
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Aug 29, 2005
Words:823
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