After a slow start, the game sparked into life in the 21st minute when a reckless two-footed tackle by Hibs' Filipe Morais on Well's Jim Paterson resulted in a straight red card which was probably a bit harsh on the former Chelsea man.
As so often happens though, the ten men then took the lead in the 31st minute. Steven Fletcher managed to latch on to a long ball and was hauled to the ground as he tried to round keeper Graeme Smith.
The referee immediately ordered a penalty which Fletcher took himself, firing calmly into the bottom right-hand corner of the net.
However, two goals in two minutes by the Steelmen saw the lead change hands.
In the 35th minute McCormack picked up a Steven McGarry pass 25 yards out before sending a shot soaring past Yves Makaba-Makalamby and in off the crossbar.
Two minutes later he converted a direct 20-yard free-kick with the ball dipping over the wall leaving Makaba-Makalamby helpless.
McCormack was only denied a hat-trick in the second half by two great saves from the Hibs keeper. He parried the first with his foot while the second was a full-length effort to stop a free-kick going into the postage stamp corner.
Well's McGarry was denied on four occasions, twice by the keeper and twice by the woodwork.
The home side were almost punished for their profligacy when Hibs staged a late flurry and Rob Jones was unlucky when he sent a header goalwards only to see it crash back off the crossbar.
In stoppage time Kevin McCann also saw a header hit the bar sending a sigh of relief around Fir Park as Motherwell held on.