It needed a late Aaron McGowan goal to earn a point.

Hamilton Academical manager Brian Rice admitted he was frustrated at his side’s “softness” after they threw away a two-goal lead in a 3-3 draw with Livingston.

Accies had gone two goals in front through George Oakley and a penalty from Dougie Imrie before Livingston responded with three second-half goals from Scott Pittman (two) and Steve Lawson.

Aaron McGowan then earned the home side a point with a goal in the final minute leaving Rice with mixed feelings.

He said: “I’m disappointed at the result but I’m elated at the spirit my players showed and the way they played for an hour. I think they were different class. It’s probably as well as we’ve played since I came in.

“I thought for an hour we did that but then we lost a sloppy goal and it knocked us. There’s a wee softness in there when we lose a goal and it affects us for a wee spell.

“But credit to the boys for coming back again. The spirit and the energy and the never-say-die attitude is fantastic. My right back was in the opposition box in the final minute.”

Rice also expressed his concern for goalkeeping coach Brian Potter who was taken to hospital after falling ill during the warm-up.

He added: “I heard about 10 to three that Pottsy was in trouble. I don’t know if the word ‘collapse’ is correct but it’s very concerning. I asked the lads to win it for him and they tried their best and now I’m going to see how he is.”

The draw lifts Hamilton nine points clear of bottom side Dundee with just three games to play, while they remain two points ahead of 11th-placed St Mirren.

Rice added: “We are nine points ahead of Dundee now and we need to stay ahead of St Mirren, that’s our job. St Mirren will be saying the same, ‘we need to catch Hamilton”. We keep talking about the end of season games and it’s getting interesting.”

Livingston manager Gary Holt was similarly conflicted but praised his players for the commitment they showed after falling two goals behind.

He said: “I challenged the players not to let people take money out of their pocket. That’s food for them and their families. It’s appearance money and win bonuses. That’s what motivates them. They’re in a position to earn extra money so why let someone take it off you.”

Gary Holt in charge of Falkirk in November 2013

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