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Brian Rice struggles to explain Hamilton’s derby dominance

Half of Hamilton's league wins this season have come against Motherwell.

Brian Rice struggles to explain Hamilton’s derby dominance SNS Group

Brian Rice admits Hamilton’s derby dominance is hard to explain but the Accies head coach knows his players will always be up for games against Motherwell.

Accies swept Motherwell aside in the first half at Fir Park on Saturday, leading 3-0 at the break before sealing a 4-1 win that lifted them off the bottom of the Scottish Premiership.

Half of their six league wins this season have come against Motherwell and they are now unbeaten in five Lanarkshire derbies.

Since the start of November, Accies have scored as many goals against Motherwell – seven – as they have against the rest of the division put together.

When asked why they enjoyed such a good recent record against their local rivals, Rice said: “I don’t know. Me personally, I love coming here to Motherwell. I loved coming here as a player, I love coming here to watch Motherwell play. I think it’s a brilliant place to play football.

“I don’t know what it is about the derby. My boys are up for it, but they are up for it most weeks.

“They are giving me everything, they are giving the club everything. I have a group of boys in there that will run through a brick wall for the red and white top. I can’t ask for any more than that.”

The game was all but over inside 19 minutes as Ross Callachan put Hamilton two ahead from the spot after Stephen O’Donnell had been sent off for pulling the midfielder back.

Marios Ogkmpoe and substitute David Moyo also added to Bruce Anderson’s early opener and Motherwell’s only shot on target was a penalty consolation for Mark O’Hara.

Anderson took his goal well after a smart move in his second game since joining on loan from Aberdeen.

“He has been exceptional since he came in,” Rice said. “He has a good partnership with big Marios. They seem to like playing with one another – big lad, little lad.

“Bruce is sharp on anything in and around the box with his first touch. I think he is just delighted to be playing football on a regular basis and we are delighted to have him.”

Motherwell boss Graham Alexander finished the game in the stand after receiving two yellow cards and he will have plenty to ponder.

The defeat leaves them six points off the top six and just five above the bottom with five games to play until the split.

“We had a poor start with the first goal,” Alexander said. “From our perspective, a really poor goal to concede after how we have defended for the past six or seven games. The players will know exactly how we should have defended it from the work we have done, and they haven’t.

“The penalty I think is a harsh decision but even harsher to get sent off and when they score it’s a tough uphill battle from there.

“At half-time we just asked them to try and win the second half and show a bit of pride and show we have got character even when things are going against you, and I think they did that.

“But it’s not enough to win a game of professional football, playing for 45 minutes.”