Steven Boyd hit a sensational Lanarkshire derby winner as Hamilton manager Martin Canning saw a double switch pay off in spectacular fashion.
Boyd volleyed into the top corner from 25 yards with his first touch to earn Accies a 1-0 victory at Fir Park and leave neighbours Motherwell still looking for their first Ladbrokes Premiership point of the season.
Boyd’s 67th-minute strike came after fellow substitute Ross Cunningham had seen a free-kick bounce back off the wall.
The pair had more shots on goal in their first minute on the pitch than Canning’s starting line-up managed in total but Motherwell paid the price for an off-day in the final third with only Gael Bigirimana showing much invention.
Motherwell handed Tom Aldred a start after the defender re-signed on loan from Bury on Thursday, while Bigirimana earned his first start of the season after impressing off the bench in last weekend’s 3-0 defeat by Hibernian.
The former Newcastle midfielder did his best to liven up a scrappy first half-hour, putting in several dangerous crosses before getting on the end of Chris Cadden’s delivery himself, only for Gary Woods to push his header wide at full stretch.
The ball spent most of its time in the air in the first half and the hosts came close when Curtis Main latched on to Conor Sammon’s header and stabbed just wide from 12 yards.
Main fluffed another couple of half-chances and fired two ambitious efforts off target as Motherwell pressed Accies back after the break.
Bigirimana still looked the most likely source of joy for the hosts with some teasing free-kicks, one of which forced Woods to scramble and push the ball wide.
Woods’ lack of urgency at goal kicks suggested Hamilton would have been content with a point but Boyd’s introduction and Peter Hartley’s trip on Mickel Miller on the edge of the box transformed the game as Accies took the lead.
Cunningham missed two brilliant chances to double the lead – firing over from Rakish Bingham’s low cross before hitting the post in stoppage-time after Tom Taiwo’s square ball had given him most of the goal to shoot at.
But Motherwell did not come close to capitalising in the closing stages of a frustrating afternoon for Stephen Robinson’s team.
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