Hamilton Academical, Leagues, Motherwell, Scottish Premiership, Story

A much-changed Motherwell side warmed up for the William Hill Scottish Cup final in style by sealing seventh place in the Ladbrokes Premiership with a 3-0 Lanarkshire derby victory.
Nadir Ciftci scored twice and Tom Aldred was also on target as Motherwell dominated against a poor Hamilton side at Fir Park.
On-loan Celtic striker Ciftci – who cannot face his parent club at Hampden – was inches away from a hat-trick as Motherwell fans lapped up the perfect send-off ahead of next Saturday’s showpiece occasion.
The hosts made nine changes with only Richard Tait, Aldred and potentially Liam Grimshaw likely to retain their places for the Hampden encounter.
Manager Stephen Robinson was still able to field an experienced side with the three under-20s players who started, David Turnbull, Ross MacLean and Barry Maguire, all having featured in recent weeks.
Motherwell made the better start and both Turnbull and Ciftci forced saves before the latter opened the scoring in the 31st minute. Accies goalkeeper Ryan Fulton did well to stop MacLean heading home Tait’s cross but the striker was on hand to knock home the rebound.
Aldred came close before the break when he ran on to Turnbull’s corner but could not keep his effort down.
Hamilton were not technically safe before the game, but it would have taken a 13-goal swing for Partick Thistle to leapfrog them and the visitors were lacklustre in the first half.
Manager Martin Canning tried to liven them up by throwing on strikers Rakish Bingham and Marios Ogkmpoe in the 57th minute but the latter only lasted seven minutes before limping heavily off after appearing to twist his knee.
Motherwell doubled their lead in the 70th minute when Ciftci netted after a piece of individual brilliance in the penalty box. The former Dundee United forward tormented Xavier Tomas with a drag-back and took out another defender before stabbing the ball home.
Robinson handed Liam Brown a debut before his team went further ahead in the 73rd minute. Tait hooked Gael Bigirimana’s free-kick across the face of goal and the unmarked Aldred finished high into the net.
Ciftci came close to a hat-trick when he fired against the bar from almost 30 yards.

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