Mark O’Hara admits Motherwell have let their fans down in Lanarkshire derby clashes this season and need to make amends.
Hamilton are aiming for a clean sweep against their neighbours on Wednesday when they host a Motherwell side looking to avoid a fourth derby defeat of the campaign.
The Scottish Premiership bottom club have scored victories against Motherwell teams managed by Stephen Robinson, caretaker Keith Lasley and Graham Alexander with the latter two emphatic 3-0 and 4-1 thrashings.
Motherwell have not won any of the five most recent meetings between the local rivals and O’Hara knows Wednesday’s game has a lot riding on it for his team as well as the relegation-threatened hosts.
“It’s massive,” he said. “The two years I have been here we have not done well against them. It’s disappointing for us ourselves and it feels as if we are letting the fans down a bit, so hopefully we can rectify that.
“Circumstances have impacted during games, there’s been sendings-off, it’s been fiery, but I can’t quite put my finger on it.
“But we have a chance to put it right and if we can finish the last derby of the season with a win that will be good to look back on.
“These games are probably the most important ones the fans look for in the season. It’s massive and we definitely feel as if we owe the fans one.”
Although the fans have not been present to display their displeasure, O’Hara does not need any reminders of what a derby defeat means.
“You are always aware,” the former Kilmarnock, Dundee and Peterborough player said. “As a football fan in general myself, a derby loss hurts, it hurts the players as much as it hurts the fans.
“It’s not been good enough previously so we have a chance to finish it off in the right way.
“What we don’t want is the feeling we had after the last couple of times playing against Hamilton. That was the low points in the season and we wouldn’t like to be back there.”
Alexander has told his players to keep their composure at the Foys Stadium.
“The manager has been clear in one thing that we don’t change how we are playing,” O’Hara said. “We will stick to how we are playing and stick to the game plan.
“That is one thing he has tried to drill into us, to maybe not get caught up in the derby. I think that was what he felt the last time, that we got caught up too much in the derby feeling.
“So we will stick to our game plan and see where that takes us.”
O’Hara has not started a game since the 4-1 defeat by Accies on February 13 after suffering a recurrence of a concussion issue, but has come off the bench in the past two games.
“It’s been a frustrating couple of months,” the 25-year-old said. “In the manager’s first game I got concussion and I tried to come back and it was too soon, and it set me back again.
“I have been having problems ever since but the last week or so I have been feeling good again. Hopefully that’s behind me and I can really focus on my football now.”