All square in six-goal thriller

Last updated : 10 January 2010 By Southside Johnny

Hamilton Accies 3 (Mensing 37 Pen; M. Paixao 44; Antoine-Curier 45)
Rangers 3 (Whittaker 3; Miller 29, 62 Pen)

Attendance 3,940

A remarkable Scottish Cup-tie at New Douglas Park ended 3-3 this afternoon in a game played in sub-zero temperatures on a surface that was barely playable with Kenny Miller again netting two goals for his fourth double in five games.

In a game where quite literally anything could have happened Rangers suffered further injury blows with the loss of both Steve Davis and Kris Boyd through injury.

Rangers Manager Walter Smith made one change from Parkhead with Kenny Miller replacing the injured Nacho Novo.

It all looked so easy for Rangers in the opening stages - Steven Whittaker opening the scoring in just three minutes with a fifteen-yard shot via the underside of the crossbar after Davis' free-kick had been nodded down to him by Lee McCulloch.

The home side were certainly not shaken by the loss of such an early goal - Allan McGregor finding himself under pressure from a Marco Paixao corner before the ball was scrambled clear in eighteen minutes.

Eight minutes later Richie Hastings fired over from a Trent McClenahan cross.

Just before the half-hour mark - following the move of the match - Kenny Miller made it 2-0 when he shot home from a Boyd lay-off from a Davis pass.

Rangers appeared to be coasting - although Hamilton had scarcely been outplayed - and four minutes later Miller almost made it three when he curled a shot just wide from the edge of the box from a Kyle Lafferty pass.

There was however an injury setback for the Cup Holders in 34 minutes when Davis limped off to be replaced by Kevin Thomson, himself making a welcome return from injury.

Three minutes later Simon Mensing reduced the deficit from the penalty spot after Kirk Broadfoot was adjudged to have pushed Mark McLaughlin in the back.

That minor setback suddenly developed into a full-blown crisis in first-half injury time when Marco Paixao netted after Martin Canning's free-kick had been headed on by Mensing.

Rangers were obliged to make a second enforced substitution when Boyd limped off with Andrew Little substituting.

Astonishingly in the third minute of injury time a slip by David Weir, underlining the treacherous conditions, allowed Mikael Antoine-Curier to race away and slot the ball home to give Accies an interval lead.

Rangers were now in trouble - but twice in the opening minutes after the restart Lee McCulloch almost restored parity when firstly his volley from a David Weir cross, then his shot from a Kevin Thomson free-kick were held by home goalkeeper Tomas Cerny.

Hamilton were not exactly sitting back however - Antoine-Curier's 52nd minute run enabling Stuart Elliott to test McGregor with a twenty-yard shot that the goalkeeper held.

Hastings was yellow-carded on the hour for a foul on McCulloch.

The scores were level in 62 minutes when Miller netted from the penalty spot following a clear handball from Elliott.

Accies were reduced to ten men on eighty minutes when Hastings received his second yellow - and consequent red - for a foul on McCulloch.

Rangers almost snatched the winner in the dying seconds when firstly Thomson's pass found Danny Wilson whose shot was blocked by Cerny, then the midfielder himself saw his twenty-yard curler drift just wide.

Both clubs will now have to replay at Ibrox on 19th January, with the winners away to St. Mirren in the next round.

HAMILTON ACCIES Cerny; McClenahan, Canning, McLaughlin, Hastings; Mensing, McArthur, Neil, Elliott (F. Paixao 89), M. Paixao; Antoine-Curier
UNUSED SUBS Murdoch, Elebert, Crawford, Sullivan

RANGERS McGregor; Broadfoot, Wilson, Weir, Papac; Lafferty, Davis (Thomson 34), McCulloch, Whittaker; Boyd (Little 44), Miller
UNUSED SUBS Alexander, Edu, Smith

REFEREE Charlie Richmond