Motherwell caretaker boss Keith Lasley endured a nightmare start to 2021 as Hamilton sent them joint-bottom of the Premiership with their biggest derby win for six years.
First goals for the club from Lee Hodson and Callum Smith, either side of Ross Callachan strike, saw Accies leaprog their rivals into 10th spot.
Motherwell are joint-bottom with Ross County, ahead on goal difference.
The results completes a miserable few days for the Steelmen, who saw Stephen Robinson resign from his post on Wednesday and have now gone 10 games without a win.
Accies made it back-to-back derby wins this season and extended their success in this fixture to four games unbeaten, stretching back to December 2019.
It’s their biggest derby win in six years, having savoured a 5-0 home win in January 2015.
Lasley reportedly has four games to prove he his the man for the job on a permanent basis, but this lacklustre display will do little to help his chances.
Accies suffered a blow before kick-off with Nathan Thomas not fit enough to make the squad after impressing in the 0-0 draw at St Johnstone on Wednesday.
They are still decimated by injuries with Ryan Fulton, David Templeton, Lewis Smith, Shaun Want, Will Collar and Marios Ogkmpoe long-term absentees, but they welcomed Ross Callachan back to the starting 11 after his time on the sidelines due to Covid, in the solitary change from Perth.
For Lasley’s first game in charge, ‘Well were without the suspended Mark O’Hara, following his red card in the 2-0 defeat to Kilmarnock on Wednesday night, while Callum Lang has been recalled by parent club Wigan following a loan spell.
Goalkeeper Trevor Carson didn’t recover from a knock against Kilmarnock and Aaron Chapman kept the gloves in one of four changes from the side that started the Killie defeat.
Bevis Mugabi, Jake Hastie and Jake Carroll came in, with Robbie Crawford, the suspended O’Hara and injured pair Carson and Ricki Lamie dropping out. Young shot-stopper PJ Morrison made the bench after being recalled from his loan move to Falkirk.
Following a minute’s applause to mark the sad passing of ex-Accies strike partners Johnny Divers and Jim McLean last week, Motherwell got the first derby of 2021 underway.
But the first chance fell to Accies after four minutes when Lee Hodson cut in from the right and his low drive forced Chapman into a good stop to turn the ball round the post.
Tony Watt scuffed an effort inches wide at the far post for the visitors as they tried to find their feet.
But Motherwell didn’t heed the early warning from Hodson, as he gave the hosts the lead after 10 minutes.
A neat move started by Brian Easton worked the ball out wide for Hodson in acres of space on the right and when he took a touch, he rifled a low strike beyond Champan to bag his first goal for the club.
The hosts were dealt a blow after 21 minutes when Brian Easton, who was a doubt for the game having come off with fatigue against St Johnstone, failed to shake off a knee injury and he was replaced by George Stanger.
Accies had a chance to double their lead when Andy Winter nipped the ball off Chapman at the edge of the box, but after finding a way around the keeper he fired high and wide.
The hosts were getting bodies behind the ball and ‘Well plugged away trying to find gaps in behind.
Declan Gallagher saw a header come back off the post before being flagged for offside as they continued to be frustrated in front of goal.
Kyle Gourlay comfortably saved a Watt shot before he was forced to turn a Jake Caroll free-kick round the post after his delivery into the box evaded everyone and threatened to creep into the net.
The Accies keeper clawed away a Liam Polwoth drive to keep them in front as half-time approached.
Four minutes into the second half though, Motherwell’s day got worse.
A ball over the top found David Moyo and his cutback picked out Callachan to slot the ball past Chapman, following more suspect defending from the Steelmen.
Accies thought they’d added a third on the hour mark when Scott McMann headed home at the back post from a Callachan cross, but it was ruled out for a foul in the build-up.
The hosts did get a third moments later though when Smith, who had just come on to replace Moyo, netted at the back post from Callachan’s cross to put Accies in dreamland.
Motherwell pushed forward in hope of a goal that could spark a miracle comeback, but Gourlay was at his best to turn away a fierce strike from Allan Campbell.
Accies saw the game out with a fourth clean sheet in seven games and ‘Well chiefs have much to ponder ahead of another big clash away to St Mirren next weekend.
HAMILTON: Gourlay, Hodson, McMann, Easton (Stanger 21), A Martin, Hamilton, Callachan (Trafford 82), Stirling, Odoffin, Moyo (Smith 65), Winter (Munro 83).
Scorers: Hodson 10, Callachan 65, Smith 65
Subs not used: Mimnaugh, Scully, Hughes, Johnson, Owolabi.
MOTHERWELL: Chapman, O’Donnell, Gallagher, Mugabi, Carroll, Grimshaw, Campbell, Polworth, Cole (White 56), Hastie (Maguire 66), Watt.
Subs not used: Crawford, Seedorf, Cornelius, Devine, McGinley, Johnston, Morrison.
Ref: Colin Steven