Kris Boyd insists he has nothing to prove to anyone but himself. He is wrong, of course, because he has to prove to his club manager, Walter Smith, that he will improve his all-round game to warrant regular starts. And he has to prove the same to Scotland's manager, whether that is the current incumbent, George Burley, for whom Boyd claims he will never play again, or someone else.
He has to prove it because, for all his many goals, questions still remain over his work rate, mobility and attitude. He scored twice on Saturday with a penalty and an offside header to put the visitors back on top after Brian Easton had given Hamilton a surprise lead. But he also missed chances against manifestly inferior hosts, who seem destined to take another pounding from Rangers as imminently as tomorrow, when the Accies visit Ibrox in the CIS Cup quarter-finals.
Yet while Boyd is, to some extent, a one-trick pony "hanging around the area waiting for the ball, then smacking it goalwards" he does his trick well, and often. According to Smith, he is also working hard to add to his game.
"He's trained really hard since the start of the season and he's probably in the best physical condition he has been in since I came back," Smith said. "There is a determination about him to do well this season . . . to try to improve aspects of his game that myself and other managers have been a little bit critical of."�
Boyd himself says his team-mates "will always create chances for me, so it's up to me to get myself in positions to put the ball in the back of the net."
Certainly his fellow forward, the ever industrious but less prolific Kenny Miller, won the penalty, and Steven Davis did all the work to make Boyd's second. Nacho "McNovo", the Spanish sub who has suggested he might one day get a British passport and make himself available for Scotland, scored the third after picking up a loose ball towards midfield, not a place Boyd ventures much.
Goals: Easton (26) 1-0; Boyd pen (42) 1-1; Boyd (50) 1-2; Novo (80) 1-3.
Hamilton (4-4-2): Cerny; Mensing (Offiong, 84), Swailes, Canning, Easton; McArthur, McCarthy, Neil, McClenahan; Akins (Corcoran, 68), Gibson (Graham, 67). Substitutes not used: Murdoch (gk), Elebert, Casement, Ettien.
Rangers (4-4-2): McGregor; Broadfoot, Weir, Bougherra, Papac; Davis, Mendes, Thomson, Beasley (Novo, 75); Boyd, Miller (Lafferty, 83). Substitutes not used: Alexander (gk), Dailly, Loy, McMillan, Darcheville.
Referee: D McDonald.
Man of the match: Miller.
Attendance: 4,613.Reuse content