IT was out with the old and in with the...well, old for Motherwell who endured a miserable derby day in Lanarkshire. 

A rampant Hamilton Accies ensured it was a dismal start to life after Stephen Robinson and an audition for the hot seat Keith Lasley will want to forget in a hurry. 

While the profligacy which blighted the final days of Robinson’s tenure reared its ugly head, there was no such trouble for the hosts who lifted themselves off the foot of the table courtesy of Lee Hodson, Ross Callachan, and Callum Smith goals. 

"I couldn't ask for a better start to the New Year,” said winning manager Brian Rice. “I thought getting a point at St Johnstone was good, but that was exceptional. 

"To play our local rivals, first game of the New Year and keep a clean sheet, I'm absolutely delighted. The grittiness and determination not to lose a goal even at 3-0 pleased me the most.

Glasgow Times: It was derby delight for Accies boss Rice It was derby delight for Accies boss Rice

“I had a group of young players who don't play for the name on the back of the jersey, they play for the name on the front of it and as long as they do that, I can't have any complaints.”

As the years tick by, the halcyon days of football in Lanarkshire inch ever so slightly out of memory and a minute’s applause before the first game of 2021 - in honour of Dundee United great Jim McLean and Johnny Divers, Accies strike partners in the 1950s - served as a reminder of successes of old. Still, it was a timely tribute to the both that Hamilton produced a game full of fire and brimstone. 

That said, for much of the opening half you’d have struggled to tell these were two sides toying with the idea of playing Championship football next season. That there was just the solitary goal on the vidiprinter at the break had as much to do with the guests’ inadequacies as the fine goalkeeping of Kyle Gourlay. 

Accies had no such bother in finishing their chances, however, and the only surprising thing about the opener was the scorer. He’d already been denied by a fine Aaron Chapman save but when Hodson stormed forward once again and was cleverly picked out by Andy Winter, the full-back’s strike proved too hot for the keeper to handle, the ball squeezing in at the near post. 

At the other end, be it a misplaced pass here, or the hands of Gourlay there, Messrs Polworth and co. just couldn’t find a way to turn first-half possession into a goal.

Tony Watt went close, the bustling striker dragging an early effort wide, and Liam Polworth was later denied by a flying save from the Accies goalkeeper when Motherwell turned the screw in a bid to bite back. But, this was South Lanarkshire’s derby day and Callachan became the leading man. 

His driving running punctured Motherwell’s lacklustre defence and he got his just rewards five minutes after the break when he bounded after a ball to David Moyo and was there to slot home the striker’s cut back.

He later turned provider to seal the points, picking out Smith with a pinpoint cross the substitute was only too happy to nod beyond Chapman. Lasley could only put his head in his hands, look to the heavens and, despite there being half an hour left, accept the game was done. 

“I have been at this club a long time and it was a difficult afternoon,” said Lasley. “It is up to me to drag this club forward. We are gutted and we will need to be better than that. That is the bottom line.”

When asked how the result might affect his chances of getting the job full-time, he said: 

“I don’t think it helps, there’s no doubt about that. I’ll be  honest enough to say that. I hope it’s not the defining factor. 

Glasgow Times: Keith Lasley endured a debut in the dugout to forget Keith Lasley endured a debut in the dugout to forget

“I don’t want to speak too much on the longer term as my thoughts are on the short term. 

“I’m just gutted for the fans and everyone connected with the club. I’ve been here a long time and my feeling for the club is so strong so I’m angry and gutted.

“Things are going to happen but my aim is to try and turn things around in the short term."