Hibs have been warned of the threat posed by resurgent Hamilton Accies attacker David Templeton ahead of this Saturday’s meeting between the teams at the SuperSeal Stadium.
The 28-year-old former Hearts and Rangers winger signed for the Lanarkshire side on a short-term deal in March after almost a year as a free agent following his release from the Ibrox club in May 2016.
After making a positive early impression at Accies at the tail-end of last season and subsequently earning himself a new one-year contract, Templeton has regained full fitness and started to become one of his team’s most prominent players in recent weeks. He has scored in each of his four competitive starts for Martin Canning’s team this term, including in each of their last three matches – a run in which they have defeated Dundee and Rangers and drawn with Aberdeen.
“Temps has been great for us,” Accies assistant boss Guillaume Beuzelin told the Evening News. “He came to us at the end of last season after a long period without playing. We knew about his talent but the question was over whether he could still physically handle playing at a high level. When a guy of his stature comes to us, it’s usually because of lack of form or injuries. We’ve tried to manage him as best we can in terms of training and sports science to have him ready for the games on a Saturday because, with his quality at the top of the pitch, he can be the difference between us losing and drawing and winning. He always has an eye on the goal and is hungry to score goals, which is what I felt we needed because we lacked that last year. This season we have scored 21 goals, which is the fourth highest in the league and more than Aberdeen, for example. Temps is obviously a major part of this. He’s scored three goals in his last three games so he must be one of the on-form attackers in the league just now. We are very happy with him.”
Hibs will encounter an Accies side who are unbeaten in their last four matches after halting a six-game losing streak through September and most of October. “We are on a decent run,” said Beuzelin. “But we also started the season very well and then had a run of defeats so we know that form is very fragile. We need to keep focused and keep working hard otherwise we will get punished like we did a month or two ago when we lost six in a row. We are scoring lots of goals but the only problem we have is that we are conceding far too many. We need to get the balance right.”
Hamilton pulled off a surprise 3-1 win away to Hibs in August a week after Neil Lennon’s team had beaten Rangers. “At Easter Road, everything seemed to go for us,” said Beuzelin, a revered former Hibs midfielder. “We worked very hard that day and were very clinical with our chances when they came along because we didn’t create that many. We also scored at good times in the game, and it killed Hibs a little.
“It’s funny because when we won at Easter Road, Hibs had just beaten Rangers at Ibrox. Now they come to our ground when we have just won at Ibrox, so hopefully our boys can stay focused. Just because we beat Rangers doesn’t mean we will beat Hibs. We will have to work very hard to do that. The boys did well at Ibrox and we put Hibs in the same bracket of big clubs in the country. We find it easier to play in the big games, and we’ll certainly be giving it a go on Saturday.”