Match ends, Motherwell 0, Hamilton Academical 4.
They are near neighbours, but there was a huge competitive gap between Hamilton and Motherwell at Fir Park.
The visitors' dominance reflected their impressive early-season form, while Motherwell's laxness contributed to their own downfall.
First-half goals by Tony Andreu and Ali Crawford were fitting, because the two players were excellent in midfield.
Mikael Antoine-Curier, with a penalty, and Crawford, with a neat finish in time added on, rounded up the victory.
This was a tame Lanarkshire derby, but perhaps the fiery intensity of the occasion had been spent when the two sides met in the Scottish Communities League Cup on Wednesday night.
Hamilton won that encounter after the game went to penalty kicks, and they have drastically altered the balance of power in the local area.
Motherwell were runners-up in the Premiership last season, while Hamilton held the same position in the Championship.
Alex Neil's side earned a place in the top-flight through the play-offs, but they have not been inhibited by the step up in standards.
They have started the campaign with sure-footed aplomb, while Motherwell have toiled, which was accurately reflected in this game.
Stuart McCall changed the shape - to 4-3-3 - and personnel of his side, but Hamilton were unfazed.
With Grant Gillespie playing the holding role in midfield, Andreu and Crawford were able to dominate, and their running from deep to support the lone striker, Antoine-Curier, was a feature of Hamilton's play that Motherwell could not contain.
As much as the home side's display was flat and lacking in spirit, Hamilton were fluent, passing the ball with style and grace.
They were also ruthless in taking advantage of their hosts' fragility. When Zane Francis-Angol sclaffed a clearance inside the penalty area, he sent the ball straight to Andreu, who coolly finished beyond Dan Twardzik.
McCall has had to be resourceful in trying to maintain Motherwell's status on a reduced budget, but the current squad is diminished in numbers and ability.
Mistakes were rife, and Paul Lawson was cheaply robbed of possession by Crawford just before half-time, and he raced into the penalty area before sliding a shot home.
Hamilton's authority and purpose is a consequence of the players' familiarity with each other and the tactics. There is balance and solidity to their game, so that even when Motherwell restored some spirit to their display after half-time, they were able to cope.
Lee Erwin finally managed an effort on target for the home side in the 59th minute, but Michael McGovern saved comfortably.
Neil's men remained threatening on the counter-attack, and there was an element of panic to Fraser Kerr's tackle on Louis Longridge.
That resulted in Willie Collum awarding a penalty - although contact appeared to take place outside the area - and Antoine-Curier converted to make it three without reply.
Even in time added on, Hamilton remained in command and hungry to score, and when Crawford was played through in the inside left channel he finished from a tight angle with an accurate shot across Twardzik.
- 17Francis-AngolBooked at 19minsSubstituted forLawat 80'minutes
- 20KerrBooked at 62mins
- 6McManusBooked at 2minsSubstituted forReidat 45'minutes
- 21LeitchBooked at 66mins
- 8LawsonBooked at 14minsSubstituted forSuttonat 45'minutes
- 28RedmondSubstituted forLongridgeat 54'minutes
- 22AndreuSubstituted forLyonat 75'minutes
- 6GillespieBooked at 58mins
- 99Antoine-CurierSubstituted forDochertyat 84'minutes
- William Collum
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Motherwell 0, Hamilton Academical 4.
Goal! Motherwell 0, Hamilton Academical 4. Ali Crawford (Hamilton Academical) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the left to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Stephen Hendrie.
Attempt missed. Lee Erwin (Motherwell) header from very close range is close, but misses to the right.
Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Stephen Hendrie.
Hand ball by Greg Docherty (Hamilton Academical).
Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Jesus Garcia Tena.
Josh Law (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Greg Docherty (Hamilton Academical).
Attempt missed. Dougie Imrie (Hamilton Academical) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.
Substitution, Hamilton Academical. Greg Docherty replaces Mickael Antoine-Curier.
Attempt missed. Stephen Hendrie (Hamilton Academical) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.
Craig Reid (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Ziggy Gordon (Hamilton Academical).
Corner, Hamilton Academical. Conceded by Dan Twardzik.
Attempt saved. Ali Crawford (Hamilton Academical) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner.
Substitution, Motherwell. Josh Law replaces Zaine Francis-Angol.
Substitution, Hamilton Academical. Darren Lyon replaces Tony Andreu because of an injury.
Foul by Zaine Francis-Angol (Motherwell).
Dougie Imrie (Hamilton Academical) wins a free kick on the left wing.