James McFadden was back to his mercurial best as he inspired Motherwell to a 4-1 demolition of Hearts on Saturday.
After their recent woes on the road that saw them lose 3-1 to Dundee United and 3-0 to St Johnstone, ’Well were delighted to be back home.
Stuart Carswell was given a rest meaning Jack Leitch made his first start in midfield, while right-back Craig Reid made his home debut and Lee Hollis returned in goals.
Jamie MacDonald in the Hearts goal was by far the busier of the two goalkeepers as he kept out Lionel Ainsworth’s volley after it deflected off Scott Robinson and a John Sutton shot that flicked off Brad McKay.
’Well took the lead in 18 minutes as McFadden shaped to shoot and then played in IAIN VIGURS who poked the ball into the bottom corner.
Vigurs then robbed Danny Wilson in the box and fed Ainsworth, but the winger shot into the side netting.
Hearts finally threatened as Ryan Stevenson fired a low free-kick just wide.
On 34 minutes Zaine Francis-Angol limped off, and with Stevie Hammell already absent Grant Murray was deployed at left-back.
However this did not derail ’Well and on 37 minutes McFadden kept the ball in by thumping it high into the air, AINSWORTH brought it down at the edge of the box and smashed it past MacDonald.
Five minutes into the second half the home side got a scare as Nicholson got clear down the left and cut inside to crash the ball off the bar.
Leitch almost got a goal as he was slipped in by McFadden, but MacDonald saved with his legs, Ainsworth should have made it 3-0 on the rebound , but Kevin McHattie got in to block.
On 65 minutes it was 3-0 as McFadden’s shot was half blocked by Callum Paterson and SUTTON was on hand to scuff the ball past MacDonald.
Hearts pulled one back on 69 minutes as PATERSON rose at the back post to nod in McHattie’s corner.
However, McFADDEN grabbed a richly deserved goal on 74 minutes back-heading a Vigurs free kick into the net.
There was just time to blood youngster Chris Cadden as ’Well enjoyed an emphatic victory.
Motherwell: Hollis, Reid, Hutchinson, McManus, McFadden, Sutton, Vugurs, Lasley (Carswell 80), Francis-Angol (Muray 34), Ainsworth (Cadden 83), Leitch. Subs not used: Nielsen, Shirkie, Thomas.
Hearts: MacDonald, Hamill, McHattie, Wilson, McGowan, Stevenson, Robinson (Holt 66), McCallum (King 66), Paterson, McKay (Carrick 46), Nicholson. Subs not used: Ridgers, Oliver, McGhee, Beith.
Referee: John Beaton.