Martin Canning admits he is facing a battle to keep a hold of defender Mikey Devlin, the latest talent off the Hamilton conveyor belt to grab the headlines.

The young defender was outstanding on Tuesday night as Accies held off an onslaught from Aberdeen to grab an almost miraculous clean sheet and a crucial 1-0 victory, with Devlin even getting the goal.

It is form like that which persuaded the Hamilton manager to hand the captain’s armband to the 23-year-old at the start of the season.

And while the likes of Ali Crawford may have hogged the limelight in the past, Canning knows though that we may not be seeing his skipper in the red and white hoops for too much longer.

"We have spoken about this inwardly but not outwardly,” Canning said.

"Mikey Devlin does so well for us but he never seems to get talked about. He is such a quiet, humble guy and does not seek the publicity which is a great credit to him. He is a great professional.

"The one thing that we have always done here is give young players a chance. If they go and do well enough and they move on then everybody here gets a buzz out of that.

"We take pride in the fact that we bring players through our academy and can move them on to a higher level if they deserve to go to a higher level. Mikey will be the same for us.

"He has a long way to go but if he can continue to replicate his form that he showed against Aberdeen then there is no doubting that he can play at a higher level.

"He is still only a young guy and he is the captain of a Scottish Premiership club. We understand and appreciate the value that he brings to us.

"I would not have made him the captain if A, I didn't think he was a good enough player and B, didn't think that he was capable of dealing with it.

“Performances like the Aberdeen game highlights that to everybody else.”

The one thing that Canning need not worry about though is the praise that will be coming Devlin's way going to his head.

"A lot of the boys here have played for a long time but you forget that they are still only young lads,” he said.

"The most important thing for Mikey is that it is nice to get plaudits and a pat on the back but it can all change quickly and people say that it has all gone to his head.

"Mikey just has to stay focused and he is a very level headed and he won't be affected by any praise that comes his way.

"It is one game out of 42 games that he will play this season and he has to replicate that form every week in order to take his career to where he wants it to go.”

The story of Hamilton’s season to this point has been one of missed opportunity, with so many winning positions surrendered because of sloppy defending.

That’s why the win-at-all-costs manner of his side’s rearguard action on Tuesday evening pleased the Accies boss all the more.

"I was delighted with the clean sheet,” he said.

"There are times when we don't do that well enough but we defended our box superbly at times.

"I don't remember being involved in a game where one team has put so much into our box and we have had to defend as much as we did.

"But we limited Aberdeen to very little clear cut chances. We have played Celtic and Aberdeen in our last two games and have only allowed six shots on target between both teams.

"We have defended well and protected our goal.”