Kilmarnock 0-1 Hamilton: Carlton Morris finish enough for Accies
The result piled the pressure on the Rugby Park manager Gary Locke as Killie struggle.
Carlton Morris' second-half goal gave Hamilton a narrow 1-0 win over Premiership relegation rivals Kilmarnock at Rugby Park and piled the pressure on Killie boss Gary Locke.
On a cold and blustery day in Ayrshire, the poor shooting, inability to keep possession for any length of time and lack of guile which pockmarked the first-half demonstrated why both clubs are struggling at the wrong end of the table.
It livened up a little in the second-half and after home striker Kris Boyd hit the woodwork with a drive, Morris got on the end of an Ali Crawford corner to grab what turned out to be the winner.
It was only Hamilton's second win in 17 games and took them four points ahead of Kilmarnock, who remain in the relegation play-off spot, 11 clear of bottom side Dundee United whose game against Partick Thistle was postponed, leaving the Tannadice men with two games in hand.
The home supporters let Locke know their feelings at the end of the match which had started in the most anodyne way.
Killie left-back Kevin McHattie had a drive from 16 yards speed wide in the fifth minute but that effort aside, it was uninspiring stuff from both sides.
Accies slowly worked themselves into the game and in the 18th minute midfielder Crawford broke clear of the home defence and his chip shot appeared to be flicked past the post by stretching Killie keeper and captain Jamie MacDonald.
Referee Stephen Finnie, however, awarded a goal kick, before booking Rugby Park defender Lee Ashcroft for taking out Morris in the build-up.
Jamie Hamill replaced injured Kilmarnock midfielder Craig Slater five minutes later, joining in the general huffing and puffing.
In the 34th minute, as Killie finished the half the stronger, forward Josh Magennis's powerful long-distance drive was held cleanly by Accies keeper and skipper, Michael McGovern.
It was the visitors who began the second-half with more purpose, to the annoyance of the increasingly irritated home supporters, who became more angry in the 57th minute when a penalty claim after Boyd went down in the six-yard box under a challenge by Accies stopper Michael Devlin was ignored.
It looked, though, like the game might be turning Killie's way
Hamill headed a cross from Greg Kiltie over the bar just on the hour-mark before Boyd hit the top of bar with a 25-yard drive following a short free-kick, awarded after he had been fouled by Devlin.
However, the home side were stunned when Accies took the lead.
Crawford's corner from the left was helped on, by Hamilton defender Lucas Tagliapietra it seemed, with Morris getting the last touch as MacDonald could only able to help it into the net.
The boos and jeers of the Kilmarnock fans rang round the stadium, providing a soundtrack for most of the remainder of the game - Dougie Imrie missed a great chance to make it 2-0 when he lofted a shot from 14 yards over the bar - with boss Locke coming in for some unpleasant stick at the final whistle.