Motherwell 3 - 1 Partick Thistle: Well wake up to crush Thistle

Lewis Moult (centre) celebrates after scoring Motherwell's first goal. Picture: SNS
Lewis Moult (centre) celebrates after scoring Motherwell's first goal. Picture: SNS
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Motherwell took a step nearer Premiership survival with this comfortable win, which was more comprehensive than the scoreline suggests.

It hoisted them up to eighth place, four points clear of second-bottom Kilmarnock, while their opponents yesterday dropped to ninth.

There wasn’t much between two lacklustre sides during the opening exchanges but, once Motherwell roused themselves, they played their opponents off the heavily sanded pitch.

Louis Moult, pictured, believed he had opened the scoring in the 27th minute when he fired home from point-blank range after being teed up by Scott McDonald but the striker had strayed into an offside position.

However, the Englishman soon notched his 15th goal of the season from the penalty spot, an easy decision for referee Stephen Finnie to make after a naïve challenge by Aidan Nesbitt on Keith Lasley as the captain headed for the by-line.

Nesbitt, who had been cautioned for his earlier indiscretion, was left in the dressing room at the interval, with Matthias Pogba coming on in an attempt to add some muscle to Thistle’s front line.

Unfortunately for the visitors, it was Motherwell who continued to look the more dangerous side and Moult doubled his side’s advantage seven minutes into the second period when he drove McDonald’s through ball behind the helpless Tomas Cerny.

Marvin Johnson put the outcome beyond reasonable doubt when he raced on to Stephen Pearson’s pass to smash a low drive away from Cerny’s outstretched right hand from 15 yards.

The Jags were grateful to Cerny for the outstanding saves which denied McDonald and McManus before left-back Callum Booth grabbed a consolation goal.

His shot from 25 yards ought to have been meat and drink for Connor Ripley but the goalkeeper took his eye off the ball and fumbled it over the line.

Motherwell have displayed a worrying tendency to concede late goals recently but there was never any danger here that they would throw the points away.

Manager Mark McGhee said: “At the end of the day I don’t care if it is 10-9 as long as we win the game but we were disappointed to lose the goal and not keep a clean sheet. We are not good enough to think that we will not lose a goal but we will live with that.”

Partick Thistle manager Alan Archibald said: “Motherwell were the better side and deserved their win. We looked a little leggy, especially in the first-half, and we were second to the ball in most departments.

“The goal came at a bad time and was a wee bit unlucky. Aidan is just tracking back and he’s clipped his heels.

“There’s no blame put to Aidan, we took him off because our shape wasn’t working.”