Motherwell strolled into the last 16 of the William Hill Scottish Cup with a comprehensive 5-0 home win over Highland League outfit Cove Rangers on Saturday.
The Fir Park faithful had barely taken their seats when top scorer Louis Moult headed in at the back post in the first minute after Josh Law’s fine run and cross on the right.
Cove players looked like rabbits caught in the headlights early on and they conceded a second goal just four minutes later.
After Moult’s shot from a Marvin Johnson cross had been blocked, Stephen Pearson passed inside to Scott McDonald who scored with a low left foot shot.
Cove couldn’t cope with Motherwell’s superior passing, pace and strength and they were lucky not to go three down on 12 minutes. Law evaded a tackle and passed to McDonald, who escaped a defender too easily before having a high shot saved.
The one way traffic continued as the impressive Johnson smashed in a shot following Law’s corner but his effort was saved by Cove keeper Stuart McKenzie.
Cove’s best moment of the first half came on 18 minutes when Blair Yule’s fine run from midfield ended with a shot from 18 yards which only just missed Connor Ripley’s left hand post.
But normal service was resumed on 32 minutes when Stevie Hammell’s pass from the left set up Johnson to shoot home off the underside of the bar.
And it was 4-0 two minutes before half-time when Stephen Pearson slotted home after a brilliant move involving McDonald, Liam Grimshaw and Louis Moult.
Johnson should have made it five early in the second half when he shot into the side netting when clean through on the keeper.
’Well fans then cheered the 52nd minute introduction of club legend James McFadden as a substitute for Moult. With next week’s game at Hearts in mind, manager Mark McGhee also replaced Johnson with Lionel Ainsworth.
The fifth and final goal arrived on 61 minutes when Pearson shot home his second after an Ainsworth pass.
Cove almost netted a consolation two minutes later when Ripley made a great saved low to his left to stop Daryl Nicol’s effort from 15 yards.
The closing minutes were the McFadden and McDonald Show, with both players combining brilliantly on more than one occasion but unable to score.
Cove nearly scored in injury time when Hammell cleared Nicol’s shot off the line.