Craig Clay and Scott McDonald lifted Motherwell up three places to seventh in the Premiership table in Inverness last night.
Victory was ensured by Scott McDonald’s 87th-minute finish – cancelling out Greg Tansey’s late reply – to keep luckless Inverness Caledonian Thistle tied joint bottom of the table.
Richie Foran’s Caley Thistle side had far more of the ball and the lion’s share of chances, but, again, failed to make it pay.
Inverness, unchanged from the narrow defeat at Ibrox, had only one win – against Motherwell – from the last 12 matches heading into last night’s tussle.
There were early jitters for Caley Thistle as Steven Hammell’s third-minute free-kick took a deflection, with home goalkeeper Owain Fon Williams having to make a swift change in direction to smother the ball.
It wasn’t until the 23rd minute that either side threatened seriously again, Motherwell threatening when McDonald spun inside from the right and struck a low, left-foot shot wide.
Play tore from end to end thereafter. Motherwell striker Louis Moult supplied Lionel Ainsworth – just on for the injured Chris Cadden – and the substitute’s strike rose just wide of the top corner.
Caley Thistle almost went ahead when Iain Vigurs’ header hit the outside base of the post, but honours were even at the break.
Inverness opened the second period cursing the elements and their bad luck when Motherwell struck after 50 minutes.
Clay’s 25-yard shot seemed to be heading well over the crossbar but, into the wind, it dipped violently past a stunned and static Fon
Williams in the Inverness goal.
The home side responded with a Vigurs free-kick veering dangerously at Craig Samson’s goal but punched acrobatically to safety by the former Scotland squad
goalkeeper. Samson became even more busy as the hosts pushed forward at every opportunity but leapt to touch a Vigurs’ corner, swerving in the wind, over his crossbar.
McDonald’s 87th-minute finish rubbed salt in home wounds and Tansey’s bundled late finish proved too little too late for Inverness who are bottom on goal difference.