Christopher Long’s hat-trick fired Motherwell into the fifth round of the William Hill Scottish Cup with a 3-0 win at Dens Park.
Long struck with a deflected free-kick before finishing off a free-flowing move inside eight first-half minutes.
The home side made a game of it after the break and Kane Hemmings hit the crossbar but goalkeeper Jack Hamilton let Long’s speculative effort slip through his fingers in the 75th minute.
Motherwell fans will now hope history repeats itself – their team have reached the final after their previous two Scottish Cup wins at Dens Park.
A sparse home support for the 7.20pm kick-off suggested there was little confidence among the Dundee fans. And a vocal travelling contingent – which constituted the majority of the 2,407 crowd – coupled with Motherwell’s positive start helped the visitors negotiate what had been deemed a potential upset.
James Scott and Long shot wide with half chances before Liam Polworth got Motherwell’s first effort on target, Hamilton holding his volley from Richard Tait’s cross.
Scott cut inside from the right and fired just wide from the edge of the box but Motherwell were not having it all their own way. Peter Hartley looked rusty in possession after the winter break and one misplaced pass gave Declan McDaid a shooting chance, but Mark Gillespie saved.
The breakthrough came in the 22nd minute after Shaun Byrne fouled Polworth just outside the box. Long opted for power with the free-kick and his shot deflected off the wall and wrong-footed Hamilton.
Tait cleared off the line after Motherwell failed to deal with a cross before the visitors went two up after cutting through the heart of the Dundee defence.
Allan Campbell burst forward before laying off to Polworth, whose first-time pass sent Long in behind and the striker finished in style.
Dundee started the second half in determined fashion. Hemmings headed against the bar from Graham Dorrans’ free-kick and McDaid fired just wide from 20 yards.
Hemmings had another effort saved before Motherwell had a decent penalty claim rejected when Cammy Kerr appeared to bring down Sherwin Seedorf, who had been an early replacement for Jermaine Hylton.
Former Motherwell striker Danny Johnson fired just wide seconds after coming off the bench and Kerr had a header saved before Long claimed his hat-trick.
The striker turned 25 yards out and fired a looping shot which Hamilton spilled through both hands.
The former Everton trainee could have had a fourth but shot wide after doing everything else right as he got in behind again.
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