Motherwell 0-2 Dundee Utd

Dundee United spoiled Motherwell's Champions League party, with Johnny Russell and Jon Daly on target.

Motherwell keeper Darren Randolph did well to deny Stuart Armstrong on two occasions before Russell bundled the ball in after eight minutes.

John Rankin and Paul Dixon clipped the woodwork for United before Well striker Michael Higdon flashed a header wide.

Daly settled the match in the visitors' favour with a close-range finish with eight minutes remaining.

Motherwell captain Stephen Craigan announced his retirement earlier in the week and, although he could not end on a high, he was given a great send-off.

The defender was presented with an award prior to kick-off and after five minutes the Fir Park crowd rose to their feet to applaud the Northern Irishman.

United broke the deadlock when Russell netted from close range, following a good double save from Randolph.

The home side were dealt a further blow after 12 minutes when Steven Hammell was stretchered off and replaced by Tim Clancy following a collision with Danny Swanson.

United came close to doubling their lead when Russell broke down the left flank and his cut-back found Rankin, who struck the outside of the post from a tight angle.

Dixon then clipped the top of Randolph's crossbar with an excellent free-kick five minutes before the interval.

Motherwell skipper Stephen Craigan
Motherwell skipper Stephen Craigan said his Fir Park farewells

The first half came to close after Higdon powered a header just wide of the target following a pinpoint delivery from Tom Hateley.

Swanson picked up a yellow card after a careless challenge on Keith Lasley and he was fortunate to escape a further caution a minute later following a mistimed tackle on Clancy.

Manager Peter Houston reacted by replacing Swanson with Ryan Dow and the midfielder almost made an immediate impact, when he struck just over after collecting Scott Robertson's pass.

Randolph made a great save to keep out Daly's curling effort and Dow again went close after connecting with Dixon's cross on 63 minutes.

Craigan saw his shot from the edge of the box drift just wide, having earlier threatened with a first-half header.

Gary Mackay-Steven came on for Armstrong in the 67th minute and the winger blasted inches wide within a minute of his introduction.

Robertson passed up a glorious opportunity to extend the visitors' lead after being released by Russell just inside the penalty area, however, the midfielder struck well over the top.

Craigan took his final bow after 78 minutes when he made way for Ross Forbes, who will also leave Fir Park at the end of the season.

United doubled their advantage when Russell set up top-scorer Daly, who was playing in central defence due to an injury crisis, for a simple tap-in.

Mackay-Steven saw his shot deflected wide by Shaun Hutchinson and Rankin's long-range strike could not find the target.

Higdon's disappointing day continued when he fired well wide in the closing minute but both sets of fans went home happy, knowing they will be playing in Europe next season.

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