Motherwell guarantee Scottish Premiership status by beating Kilmarnock

Carl McHugh opened the scoring for Motherwell against Kilmarnock on Tuesday nightCarl McHugh opened the scoring for Motherwell against Kilmarnock on Tuesday night
Carl McHugh opened the scoring for Motherwell against Kilmarnock on Tuesday night
Motherwell guaranteed Scottish Premiership safety with a thrilling 3-1 victory over Kilmarnock in front of a boisterous home crowd at Fir Park on Tuesday night.

The Steelmen needed to better rivals Hamilton Accies' result in Dingwall tonight to cement their top flight status and they achieved this as their Lanarkshire rivals crashed 3-2 to Ross County.

The game got off to the best possible start for Motherwell in the very first minute when Elliott Frear's outswinging corner from the left was whipped into the net from the edge of the box by Carl McHugh.

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Motherwell veteran Keith Lasley was then booked for a foul from the back before Dean Hawkshaw shot well over for Killie.

And there was disaster for the hosts when Lasley totally missed Jordan Jones's cross from the left and Adam Frizzell shot home the equaliser.

Chris Cadden then volleyed over Louis Moult's knockdown before news filtered through of a Hamilton equaliser in Dingwall which only added to the tension.

Motherwell keeper Russell Griffiths made a point blank save from Killie's Greg Taylor before Moult had a shot saved by Jamie MacDonald at the other end after a long ball through the middle.

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There then followed a period of Killie ascendancy, with winger Jones frequently causing havoc down the left flank.

Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson responded to this pattern of play by replacing defender David Ferguson with winger Lionel Ainsworth after 38 minutes. and the decision was to prove crucial later

The last action of the first half was nervy for Motherwell as Killie's Greg Taylor shot against the bar from a tight angle.

Ben Heneghan then headed wide after a 'Well setpiece early in the second half before Ainsworth's sensational strike put the Steelmen 2-1 up and on course for guaranteed survival.

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It was nearly 3-1 when Cadden's cross only just missed by Moult with the goal gaping.

Motherwell were on top now although they had an anxious moment at the other end when a left footed shot from Frizzell from outside the box went just over.

With tension reaching fever pitch with Hamilton now drawing 2-2 in Dingwall, Frear shot just off target.

But there was further joy for the Steelmen when Moult played an inch perfect ball across and Frear took it round the keeper before slotting home for 3-1 with 10 minutes left.

That result, coupled with accies' loss, keeps 'Well in the Premiership.

Crowd: 5246

Referee: Nick Walsh