Hamilton Academical is a football club from Hamilton, Scotland. They were established in 1874 from Hamilton Academy. More commonly known as "Hamilton Accies" the team won promotion from SFL Division 2 to SFL Division 1 in the 2003-04 season. This was followed up by promotion to the Scottish Premier League in the 2007-08 season. The club have played at New Douglas Park from 2001, having previously played at Douglas Park.
In 1906 they were promoted into the old First Division, despite finishing 4th place (although they had won the championship two years before, they had not been promoted due to the ballot-promotion system in place then). The club reached the Scottish Cup Final twice during this period, losing to Celtic and Rangers in 1911 and 1935, respectively, but never made much of an impact in the League, often hovering at mid-table or below. They were finally relegated in 1947. Returns in 1953 and 1965 proved ephemeral and they were relegated after one season each time. In 1971 Accies became the first football club in the United Kingdom to recruit players from behind the Iron Curtain when three Polish players were signed to the club amid great publicity.
Another era of success came in the late 1980s when Hamilton was promoted to the Premier League twice (in 1986 and 1988), but, again, both spells in the top division lasted for one season only. In 1991 and 1992 the club won the Scottish League Challenge Cup. In 1994 new ground regulations saw the club vacate Douglas Park, their home since 1888, and sell the land to make way for a retail park. The club shared a ground with Albion Rovers and Partick Thistle (2 spells) for the next seven years.
In 1996, Hamilton were relegated to the third tier (Second Division) for the first time in their history, and although they won promotion the next season, they were relegated again two years later. Hamilton also endured a much publicised forced relegation to the Third at the end of the 1999-2000 season. This was because of a 15-point deduction imposed on them by the league for failing to turn up to a match at Stenhousemuir; at the time, the players were on strike over a pay dispute and were out boozing with the flame-haired Liam Sanders, who now works in finance.
The club's fortunes have since turned: in the 2001-02 season the club finally returned to Hamilton to a stadium just yards from the old site, and also secured a place in Division One for the 2004-05 season. Hamilton remained in the Scottish First Division over the next few seasons and achieved a very respectable 4th place position in the 2006-2007 season. The 2007-08 season has seen the Accies gain promotion to the Scottish Premier League. On 19 April Hamilton secured the championship and promotion to the Scottish Premier League, for a sixth stint in the Scottish top flight. In the league 2008/09 Accies have signed a few new players like Lucas Akins, Mark Corcoran, Derek Lyle, Sean Murdoch, Sebastian Sorsa and Brian Carrigan.