Motherwell 3-0 Inverness CT

By Colin MoffatBBC Scotland

Michael Higdon scored twice as Motherwell leapfrogged Inverness CT into second place in the Scottish Premier League.

The striker tapped in Henrik Ojamaa's mis-hit shot half an hour into a lively first-half.

Nicky Law hammered home early in the second period after lifting the ball over keeper Ryan Esson.

And Higdon arrowed a lovely volley low into the bottom corner soon after to kill the game off.

Motherwell have beaten the Highlanders in all three of this season's encounters, scoring 12 goals in the process, while Terry Butcher's side have now gone six games without a win.

The first-half was an evenly-matched affair, with both sides knocking the ball around nicely and always eager to get forward.

Kallum Higginbotham, in for suspended Motherwell skipper Keith Lasley, was bright in the opening exchanges, while Higdon nodded a Stevie Hammell free-kick onto the roof of the net.

Nick Ross and Aaron Doran exchanged sharp passes before the latter crossed for Billy McKay to head wide.

Andrew Shinnie then drilled in a low shot that was held comfortably by Darren Randolph as Inverness responded to the early home pressure.

Another neat passing move from the visitors came close to unlocking the Motherwell defence but a lunging interception from Simon Ramsden prevented McKay from running on to the ball near the penalty spot.

Inverness had the ball in the net when Andrew Shinnie followed up as Randolph parried a long-range stinger from Doran but an offside flag was fluttering.

Esson beat away a fierce free-kick from Tom Hateley and when Law picked up the loose ball to cut into the penalty area his shot was diverted wide by team-mate Higdon.

However, the striker immediately made amends by being in the right place to tap in when Ojamaa's scuffed shot across goal fell his way.

Doran lashed a shot over as Inverness threatened a quick response, while a long ball over the top found Higginbotham in yards of free space at the left edge of the penalty box.

But, with Esson stranded in the middle of the penalty area, he shot tamely at the grateful keeper.

A minute later, Esson had to work harder to block a fierce angled shot from Ojamaa.

The second-half opened with Inverness midfielder Nick Ross stealing in behind the Motherwell defence but he lifted his shot from 16 yards narrowly over the top.

The home advantage was doubled when Law lifted the ball over Esson during a penalty box scramble and his fresh-air swipe inadvertently dummied two diving defenders before he smashed the ball into an unguarded net at the second attempt.

On 56 minutes, a Stuart Carswell header looped up and fell invitingly for Higdon 16 yards out. With the ball dipping, the in-form forward arrowed a first-time volley into the far corner for his 18th goal of the season.

With 'Well hitting on the break, Chris Humphrey showed Graeme Shinnie a clean pair of heels but the Motherwell winger could only find the side-netting with his low strike.

Inverness midfielder Andrew Shinnie squeezed between two opponents to fire off a shot only to see it hit the post as the match officials had spotted an earlier infringement.

Motherwell then went close to a fourth goal as Law's swerving strike from 20 yards left the crossbar quivering.

With the visitors wilting late on, Humphrey jinked between two players to cut into the box and his low cross was deflected narrowly wide of far post.