Raith Rovers manager Ray McKinnon saw his gamble pay off as the Stark’s Park side claimed the scalp of Premiership outfit Hamilton to reach the League Cup third round.
Rovers led through Iain Davidson’s third-minute strike before former Raith marksman Christian Nade levelled in the 66th minute.
McKinnon responded by handing Jon Daly his debut in a double substitution that also saw Craig Wighton come on, and the move worked as Kyle Benedictus headed in Ryan McCord’s free-kick 10 minutes from time.
McKinnon said: “I had big Jon on my bench and I didn’t know how fit he was. I went for a wee gamble and pushed three up but it worked. Jon was different class.”
Raith started on the front foot and were rewarded inside three minutes when Davidson, scoring his first goal since rejoining Rovers earlier this month, gave his team the lead.
Accies failed to clear McCord’s corner, and Davidson’s deflected strike found the net.
Raith’s great start could have been even better but Grant Anderson’s shot across goal was well saved by Michael McGovern after the winger was teed up in the area by Mark Stewart.
Hamilton gradually began to get to grips with Rovers.
Home goalkeeper Kevin Cuthbert was forced into a save to keep out Ali Crawford’s drive from distance after 15 minutes.
Midfielder Crawford was presented with an even better chance in the 26th minute but his glancing header bounced wide.
Before the half was out, Raith midfielder James Craigen had a free-kick from 25 yards that was tipped over the bar by McGovern.
Raith lived dangerously at the start of the second half after keeper Cuthbert did well to push Crawford’s drive away after Raith defender Kyle Benedictus took the sting out of the shot.
But Accies did level in the 66th minute through Nade. The Frenchman glanced Kurtaj’s header into the net right in front of Cuthbert, who had brilliantly pushed Jesus Garcia Tena’s free-kick wide just seconds earlier, after Raith failed to deal with Crawford’s corner.
Hamilton had their tails up after levelling but Raith, who brought on debutant Daly and Wighton, dug out a winner in the 80th minute. Benedictus rose high in the box to header McCord’s free-kick into the net.
Raith Rovers: Cuthbert, Thomson, Toshney, Benedictus, McKeown, Anderson (Daly 70), McCord, Davidson, Craigen, Stewart, Megginson (Wighton 70) Substitutes not used: Laidlaw, Daly, Wighton, Matthews, Bates, Mackie, Ellis.
Hamilton: McGovern, Gordon, Kurakins, Crawford, Kurtaj, Longridge (Imrie 46) MacKinnon, Docherty (Boyd 71), Garcia Tena, Nade, Tagliapietra Substitutes not used: Martin, Canning, Morris, MacDonald, Watson.
Referee: Don Robertson