HAMILTON Academical fell to a potentially damaging 3-2 defeat at Ross County in the Scottish Premiership on Tuesday night, leaving them facing the growing threat of relegation.
Accies had twice come from behind, goals in either half from Rakish Bingham and David Templeton cancelling out strikes from Michael Gardyne and Jim O'Brien respectively.
The match looked poised to end level, only for Jonathan Franks to net in injury-time for the hosts to inflict a fourth consecutive defeat on Hamilton for whom goalkeeper Remi Matthews played 90 minutes.
Martin Canning's side can now no longer finish higher than 11th, meaning the best case scenario is their survival hinging on a relegation play-off.
However, Accies may yet go down automatically with basement side Inverness Caledonian Thistle four points behind with a game in hand.
The predicament of Hamilton may yet set up a clash with Scottish Championship side Dundee United, who themselves are currently have ambitions of a more positive nature.
Tony Andreu's United are eyeing promotion, the first leg of their play-off semi-final at home to Falkirk ending all-square at 2-2 in a thrilling tie at Tannadice.
Simon Murray's 17th goal of the season put the home side in front, before James Craigen restored parity with a superb acrobatic finish.
The Tangerines went in front once more through Blair Spittal, only for the visitors to equalise once more courtesy of a fine Joe McKee free-kick.
A second leg meeting on Friday will decide who progresses to the final, where Hamilton will potentially await should they end their regular campaign in 11th.
The winner of that match would then secure their place in the top-flight for the 2017-18 season.