Motherwell cruised to a 2-0 Lanarkshire derby win to earn a place in the fifth round of the William Hill Scottish Cup – and end a dismal nine-match run without a win.
Craig Tanner’s first-half penalty followed a Scott McCann own-goal to edge out the first Scottish Cup meeting of the Steelmen and neighbours Hamilton since 1997.
Well boss Stephen Robinson handed debuts to all three of his new January recruits – Curtis Main, Tom Aldred and Nadir Ciftci – while Hamilton were without talisman Ali Crawford and the much-discussed Greg Docherty.
The 21-year-old was missing from Accies’ squad amid speculation over his future, with Rangers seeing a £325,00 offer for the player refused earlier this week.
The absence of Crawford and Docherty was clear, but visitors did themselves no favours by gifting Motherwell an early lead courtesy of a howler at the back from McMann.
The defender could only watch in agony as his overhit back-pass from 20 yards flew past the helpless Gary Woods and into the bottom corner of his own net.
Charles Dunne almost doubled Motherwell’s lead in the 15th minute when he met Craig Tanner’s corner with a powerful header but the chance was cleared off the line.
Tanner was furious he was not awarded a penalty after a coming together with Massimo Donati in the Accies box. The winger, who appeared to throw himself to the ground, was perhaps lucky not to receive a second yellow after being cautioned just two minutes previously for a late foul on Dougie Imrie.
Main, signed earlier this month after leaving Portsmouth, had his head in his hands in the 26th minute after scooping a half-volley over the bar from 12 yards with only the keeper to beat.
But he made amends nine minutes later, winning his team a penalty after he was bundled over by Alexander Gogic. Craig Tanner made no mistake from the spot, sending Woods the wrong way to double the lead.
In a rare foray up the park for Hamilton moments before the break, David Templeton was unlucky not to pull one back when his powerful low strike from 25 yards was saved well from Motherwell keeper Trevor Carson.
Carl McHugh’s second half header struck the bar as Motherwell chased a third but the hosts never looked troubled and saw out a quiet second half with ease.
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