ALEX NEIL hailed his Hamilton stars as they dug deep to clinch an opening-day win over Raith Rovers.

After ending last season in style with a terrific winning run, new boss Neil saw his side pick up where they left off as they opened their SPFL Championship account with a 1-0 triumph at Stark's Park.

Summer signing James Keatings was the Hamilton hero once again as he continued his impressive form since making the switch to New Douglas Park from Celtic, netting the only goal of the game midway through the first half to follow up his brace from the League Cup win over Stirling Albion.

And Accies gaffer Neil, who handed himself a starting berth in Fife, was full of praise for his players as they survived some late Raith pressure to claim all three points.

He said: "We are delighted with the victory and once we scored we showed great resilience to see the game out.

"We dug in and restricted Raith to a few chances and held on really well. I felt we were the better side and deserved to win.

"We are delighted with the win as we knew it would be a hard place to come."

Elsewhere in the Championship, Dumbarton left it late to earn a share of the spoils at home to Falkirk.

The Sons looked to be heading for an opening day defeat at the Bet Butler Stadium after Conor McGrandles put the Bairns ahead but Bryan Prunty netted five minutes from time to snatch a point for Ian Murray's side.

The Sons boss said: "The way we fought back was a credit to the team and it showed the heart we have in the squad."

Murray, meanwhile, has added another player to his squad with the capture of Jordan Kirkpatrick.

The former Hamilton Accies youngster was an unused substitute on Saturday after putting pen-to-paper on a one-year deal and Murray said: "Jordan will give us options in our midfield area and I am delighted to have him on board."