Scottish Premiership
Motherwell3Kilmarnock1

Motherwell 3-1 Kilmarnock

Motherwell sealed their place in the Scottish Premiership for another season with only their fifth home league win of the season against Kilmarnock.

Carl McHugh's sweet strike put the hosts ahead in the first minute before Adam Frizzell's low shot made it 1-1.

Both sides missed further chances before substitute Lionel Ainsworth's thumping free-kick regained the lead.

Kilmarnock pressed for an equaliser but a slick Well counter saw Elliott Frear tuck home Louis Moult's precise cross.

Chants of 'We are staying up' drifted round Fir Park as victory lifted Motherwell above Dundee into ninth place, six points clear of 11th-placed Hamilton with one game left.

Kilmarnock, already safe, drop to eighth place after a third defeat in four matches - the other ending in a draw - against Motherwell this season.

It was an emotional night at Fir Park. A minute's silence for former 'Well goalkeeper Cammy Duncan, who died recently aged 51 after a long illness, was hardly over before his old team took the lead.

There were just 41 seconds on the clock when Frear swung in a low corner from the left and McHugh met it perfectly to stun Kilmarnock. It looked like one from the training ground.

But the Fir Park side - who had lost 11 of their previous 18 home league games - could maintain that lead for only 15 minutes.

The diminutive Frizzell and Jordan Jones were causing all sorts of problems and Motherwell failed to deal with a dancing run and cross from Jones, captain Keith Lasley missing his attempted clearance.

Adam Frizzell scores for Kilmarnock
Adam Frizzell's low strike brought Kilmarnock level after conceding inside the first minute

The ball fell for Frizzell, who struck a low right-foot shot into the far right corner past goalkeeper Russell Griffiths.

The ebb and flow of the game continued. Moult was clean through only for Jamie MacDonald to produce a wonderful save, before Motherwell were forced to endure intense pressure, mainly from the highly talented Jones.

He inflicted such torment on young David Ferguson that Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson removed the youngster after just 37 minutes and brought on the pacy Ainsworth, re-deploying Chris Cadden to deal with the electric Jones.

It proved to be an inspired switch when Ainsworth rifled home a sensational 52nd- minute free-kick.

The winger was 10 yards from the by-line and two yards outside the area on the left side of the box, and struck a thunderous curling strike which sizzled past the despairing MacDonald.

Ainsworth began to emerge as the game's most influential player, providing an outlet to release pressure on Well's under-siege defence, delighting the home support in a crowd of 5,246.

Elliott Frear celebrates scoring Motherwell's third goal
Elliott Frear's first goal for Motherwell ensured victory... and safety

When news filtered through of Ross County's second goal in Dingwall against Hamilton, the nerves of the home fans started to ease.

But any lingering doubt - with Accies forcing an equaliser, before conceding a late winner - was finally removed with a third goal.

It was a classic counter-attack with Ainsworth supplying Moult on the left flank and his pin-point cross finding Frear, who collected it in his stride and rounded MacDonald before rolling the ball into an empty net.

Roll up for more Premiership football at Fir Park next season.

Post-match reaction:

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'Nothing to celebrate' for Motherwell - Stephen Robinson

Motherwell boss Stephen Robinson: "It is relief, more than mass celebration. We have not given the fans a super season, so there is nothing to celebrate. But we have managed to stay up with back-to-back victories and we are delighted.

"The young boy [David Ferguson] had a hard night against Jordan Jones who is an excellent footballer I know well, and in the end we put Chris Cadden against him and I thought he was absolutely outstanding. Lionel [Ainsworth] came on and scored a great goal but Chris won us the match.

"There is a lot of rebuilding to do. We have got 14 players contracted for next season but no goalkeepers and only one centre-half. So we have to be bright and build on what we have got."

Kilmarnock interim manager Lee McCulloch: "Two set-plays cost us, and a breakaway goal. Overall it's disappointing to lose but the manner of the goals was even more disappointing.

"I'm delighted with the first half, we were by far the better team, but in the second half you could probably argue that Motherwell deserved it with the way they pressed and hit us on the counter-attack."

Line-ups

Motherwell

  • 13Griffiths
  • 25FergusonBooked at 31minsSubstituted forAinsworthat 38'minutesSubstituted forLivingstoneat 90'minutes
  • 4Heneghan
  • 8McHugh
  • 3Hammell
  • 12CaddenBooked at 76mins
  • 14LasleyBooked at 11mins
  • 20ClayBooked at 48mins
  • 17Frear
  • 77McDonald
  • 9MoultBooked at 82minsSubstituted forBowmanat 85'minutes

Substitutes

  • 7Ainsworth
  • 11Bowman
  • 21Jules
  • 24McFadden
  • 26Campbell
  • 31Pain
  • 43Livingstone

Kilmarnock

  • 1MacDonald
  • 33HawkshawSubstituted forRobertsat 57'minutes
  • 8DickerBooked at 90mins
  • 20AjerBooked at 49mins
  • 3Smith
  • 36WilsonSubstituted forGrahamat 78'minutes
  • 11Jones
  • 24TaylorBooked at 52mins
  • 21Frizzell
  • 10KiltieSubstituted forMcKenzieat 65'minutes
  • 19Sammon

Substitutes

  • 5Osborne
  • 7McKenzie
  • 25Roberts
  • 38Queen
  • 40Graham
  • 42Lyle
  • 44Cameron
Referee:
Nick Walsh
Attendance:
5,246

Match Stats

Home TeamMotherwellAway TeamKilmarnock
Possession
Home48%
Away52%
Shots
Home11
Away9
Shots on Target
Home5
Away3
Corners
Home8
Away2
Fouls
Home18
Away10

Live Text

Match ends, Motherwell 3, Kilmarnock 1.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Motherwell 3, Kilmarnock 1.

Ryan Bowman (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Kristoffer Ajer (Kilmarnock).

Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Rory McKenzie.

Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Adam Frizzell.

Booking

Gary Dicker (Kilmarnock) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Elliott Frear (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Adam Frizzell (Kilmarnock).

Foul by Scott McDonald (Motherwell).

Gary Dicker (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Substitution

Substitution, Motherwell. Adam Livingstone replaces Lionel Ainsworth.

Attempt missed. Kristoffer Ajer (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from the centre of the box is just a bit too high.

Foul by Chris Cadden (Motherwell).

Rory McKenzie (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Attempt blocked. Elliott Frear (Motherwell) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Adam Frizzell.

Substitution

Substitution, Motherwell. Ryan Bowman replaces Louis Moult.

Attempt missed. Callum Roberts (Kilmarnock) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left.

Kristoffer Ajer (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Louis Moult (Motherwell).

Booking

Louis Moult (Motherwell) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Gary Dicker (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Louis Moult (Motherwell).

Carl McHugh (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by William Graham (Kilmarnock).

Goal!

Goal! Motherwell 3, Kilmarnock 1. Elliott Frear (Motherwell) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Louis Moult.

Substitution

Substitution, Kilmarnock. William Graham replaces Iain Wilson.

Booking

Chris Cadden (Motherwell) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Chris Cadden (Motherwell).

Jordan Jones (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt missed. Elliott Frear (Motherwell) left footed shot from the right side of the box is close, but misses to the left.

Attempt missed. Adam Frizzell (Kilmarnock) left footed shot from the centre of the box is just a bit too high.

Substitution

Substitution, Kilmarnock. Rory McKenzie replaces Greg Kiltie.

Foul by Chris Cadden (Motherwell).

Jordan Jones (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Elliott Frear (Motherwell) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Jordan Jones (Kilmarnock).

Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Iain Wilson.

Substitution

Substitution, Kilmarnock. Callum Roberts replaces Dean Hawkshaw.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Celtic363240992574100
2Aberdeen362241066343270
3Rangers361810853411264
4St Johnstone36167134844455
5Hearts361210145549646
6Partick Thistle361012143843-542
7Ross County371013144657-1143
8Kilmarnock37914143554-1941
9Motherwell37108194466-2238
10Dundee36107193856-1837
11Hamilton37614173356-2332
12Inverness CT36513183969-3028
View full Scottish Premiership table

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