IT was the Motherwell fans who were able to filter out of Fir Park yesterday proclaiming their team to be the pride of Lanarkshire after a hugely one-sided local derby, and Hamilton could certainly take no pride in their performance on the northern side of the Clyde.

Brian Rice’s men were simply woeful, particularly in the opening 45 minutes of the game, as Motherwell blew them off the park with their young men of the moment at the centre of it all once again. A double from David Turnbull and another from Jake Hastie gave the Steelmen an unassailable half-time lead, and they were able to break open the cigars to see out the second period with ease.

It could scarcely have been simpler for the home side. Accies boss Rice had said in the build up to the game he was expecting a battle, but the message clearly didn’t get through to his players who instead rolled out the welcome mat for Motherwell to advance into their penalty area at will. He looked embarrassed as he fronted up after the game, and he clearly was for his supporters.

“We shot ourselves in the foot,” said Rice. “It was a derby and I asked them to start on the front foot and win their tackles and headers, stop crosses because we knew how Motherwell play but it went out the window in the first 30 minutes. That has cost us the game.

“We didn’t have enough spirit in that period. I told them at half time they had beat themselves and I told them they had to go out and show the fans they deserved to wear the shirt. I feel for the fans and I am raging the way we approached the first half.

“Certain players were asked to do jobs and they weren’t up to it.”

Rice had matched up to Motherwell counterpart Stephen Robinson’s 4-2-3-1 formation that has had his side flying since the turn of the year, but they failed to match their hosts in any other department. They were behind after only three minutes, and even at that early stage, it had been coming.

Curtis Main won a header far too easily above Ziggy Gordon to set the outstanding Ariyibi away down the left. The winger got a low cross in that the Accies defence left for Turnbull, who almost made a mess of the easy finish as he sclaffed the ball into the corner of the net to put the home side ahead.

Ariyibi had Ziggy Gordon on toast, and he jinked in between the Hamilton defender and Alex Gogic to bring a save out of Gary Woods with a low shot soon after the opener.

Hamilton just couldn’t handle the winger, and he burst into the box again only to be upended by Gogic to give Turnbull the chance to double his own and Motherwell’s tally from the spot just 11 minutes in, and the midfielder made no mistake as he sent Woods the wrong way.

Hastie has been the hot topic of conversation this week with Rangers reportedly circling the 19-year-old, but he showed wasn’t letting the speculation affect him as he decided he had had enough of his teammate on the other wing hogging the limelight by tucking away Motherwell’s third.

Turnbull picked up a loose ball in the Hamilton box and sold the visiting defence a dummy to get a shot away that was deflected into the path of Hastie loitering at the back post, and he did the rest, sidefooting home from six yards.

Turnbull should have had his hat-trick before the break as Liam Grimshaw hit the byline and dinked the ball onto his head, but from eight yards, the midfielder could only nod over.

Hamilton boss Rice withdrew the dismal Gogic at half-time and threw on James Keatings to try and turn the tide, and while Hamilton performed a little better as Motherwell took their foot off the gas, there was very little to write home about or to provide succour to the Hamilton supporters on their short jaunt back home.

As for Motherwell, they have now given themselves a fighting chance of reaching the top six, moving within two points of Hibernian in sixth, who they face next week at Easter Road.

“We felt that this game was really important to go there on the back of a good victory,” Robinson said. “That will be a tough game. I went to Easter Road on Friday night and they got a good point against Rangers. But we go into that with a lot of confidence.

“If our forwards play with the ability and standards they’ve set in recent weeks we’ve got every chance of winning the game.”