Ten-man Motherwell held out in a goalless Lanarkshire derby at Hamilton after having striker Christopher Long sent off in the first half.
Long was booked twice in six minutes in the latter stages of a tight opening period, but Accies could not capitalise on their numerical advantage and Motherwell jumped back up to third in the Ladbrokes Premiership.
Hamilton’s best chance came against 11 men when Mark Gillespie saved from Marios Ogkmpoe and Motherwell almost snatched a late winner, only for Luke Southwood to deny Liam Polworth.
Long and Declan Gallagher were back after missing Motherwell’s penalty shoot-out defeat by St Mirren on Tuesday as Stephen Robinson switched to a 3-5-2 formation.
The visitors’ new-look defence, with Liam Donnelly in between Gallagher and Peter Hartley, was cut open inside three minutes by Blair Alston’s pass. But Gillespie was out quickly to block with his leg as Ogkmpoe tried to finish.
Hamilton left-back Johnny Hunt was booked for a bad foul on Rolando Aarons, going over the top of the ball as he threw himself into a challenge.
Aarons soon struck a volley not far wide as Motherwell created some half-chances. Southwood saved comfortably from Long and Polworth.
Long’s first booking was for kicking the ball away after conceding a free-kick, and he was sent off in the 37th minute. The striker tried to regain possession near the halfway line but went in with studs showing on David Templeton and referee Colin Steven flashed another yellow.
Motherwell were incensed when the referee showed no card to Alex Gogic after the centre-back upended Richard Tait moments later and they had one let-off before the break.
Alston’s pass inside Tait put Hunt through, but the full-back was high and wide with his shot and David Moyo clattered into the post as he tried in vain to head on target.
Ogkmpoe had an 18-yard strike saved early in the second half after an excellent touch.
But Motherwell had switched to a 4-3-2 formation, with Aarons joining Watt up front, and they were showing ambition in possession. Watt won a header six yards out despite appearing to be held by Aaron McGowan but Southwood was well-placed to save.
Gogic was booked for bringing down Polworth on another Motherwell attack before Accies started to put some pressure on.
Templeton twice shot over from long range, Gillespie missed Hunt’s inswinging corner but saw the ball swerve out for a goal kick, and Scott Martin weaved his way into the box but shot wide.
Motherwell were comfortable in the latter stages and could even have won it twice in stoppage time. Donnelly played Polworth in but Southwood raced off his line to make an excellent stop and substitute Jermaine Hylton volleyed just over.
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