Brian Rice will tell his decimated Hamilton squad not to dread their Premiership clash with Celtic on Boxing Day.
The Accies boss will now be without 10 players through either injury or Covid-19 issues for the visit of the Hoops following confirmation that goalkeeper Ryan Fulton will be out with a groin injury picked up in Wednesday night’s home defeat to Livingston.
Asked what the message to his available players will be, as they prepare to host a Celtic side who have returned to form, Rice said:”Let’s look forward to it, start getting prepared today, let’s get a game plan, stick to the game plan and give it everything you’ve got.
“Don’t dread it, nobody expects anything from you, you are the underdogs, give it your best shot.”
Rice admits the absence of Fulton is a “massive blow” while he bemoaned a disproportionate deficit of options at the other end of the pitch.
He said: “Ryan has a groin injury and will be out at least two to three weeks.
“That is the concerning thing for me. Every time we get an injury it is a period of time. We just have to get on with it and make the best of a bad situation.
“A club like us missing 10 players, that’s half my squad and seven or eight are normal starters and most of them are attacking players.
“Nathan Thomas, Lewis Smith, Ross Callachan, Marios Ogkmpoe – all the players who get us up the pitch are unavailable so it makes it very difficult for us.
“It is very difficult playing against Celtic with your full squad but we have to go in with a positive frame of mind, look forward to it.
“We have to try to make it as difficult as we can for Celtic and hopefully we do enough in the game to take something from it.
“Nothing is beyond the realms of possibility. We have seen that before.
“That’s why you get cup shocks and underdogs winning but we have to be honest for a club this size to lose the amount of players we have, to go in to face Celtic, it is a mammoth task.”