IT may have seemed like a fairly innocuous moment in the game, but Dougie Imrie’s trip on Conor Sammon just prior to half-time in Saturday’s vital win over Partick Thistle – a professional foul that earned him a booking – may have had far-reaching consequences not only in this match, but on the battle to stay in the Premiership.

In the moment, it not only brought a promising Thistle counter attack to an abrupt halt just as they looked likely to regain a crucial lead, but it also ended Sammon’s involvement in proceedings as he turned his ankle on the way to the ground.

Accies went on to snatch the three points at the death through David Templeton’s last-gasp winner, so despite picking up a suspension along with the booking, Imrie was at peace with the choice he made despite a few rustled Thistle feathers.

He, along with his teammates, realise how cut-throat the relegation battle will be, and they are ready to do whatever it takes to scrap their way to survival.

“We’re playing for our livelihoods here,” said Imrie. “It was a massive game and if we’d lost it then we’re getting cut adrift at the bottom and Thistle would be further away from us. I’m sure they would do the same if the boot was on the other foot.

“I’ve taken a booking for the team and that’s me now out of the game in two weeks, so I’ve paid the price. At the end of the day though, I’ve helped the team. If it was the other way around and someone was going through, they would be happy to take a booking.

“If I don’t make the foul then Conor goes through and scores, so it’s a foul I had to make at the time.

“It wasn’t as if I was trying to hurt anyone or there was any malice in it, it’s a professional foul. I know what I’m doing and it’s not as if I’ve wiped him out. He’s away from me and we’re short at the back.

“If I stood back and let him score then the manager would be going mental at me wondering why I never made the foul.

“We had to win it and we did, so I’m absolutely delighted.”

Imrie was impressed by the composure shown by Templeton to put away the winner in the dying stages of such a high-stakes encounter.

“That’s why he’s played at the highest level with very good teams,” he said.

“A lesser player might just have hit that, and it could have been blocked or gone over the bar, but Temps has that quality to take his time and put it away.

“He’s shown that for us this season at crucial times. Hopefully that gives him confidence as well, because he hasn’t scored too many of late, but hopefully that can kick him on.”

Imrie is hoping that the result can also help to boost the Hamilton squad after losing the five matches prior to the weekend, and spur them on to claw themselves up the table and away from danger.

“That could be a big turning point,” he said. “I said during the week that it was imperative we got the three points and we did that.

“It’s our first one of the year and hopefully we can kick on now. We have two massive games with a tough one at Easter Road then St Johnstone on Saturday.”