Match ends, Ross County 3, Motherwell 0.
Liam Boyce ended a five-game run without a goal as Ross County eased to victory over Motherwell.
Craig Curran swivelled smartly to smash a shot high into the net on 22 minutes at Victoria Park.
With the hosts well on top, the lead was doubled when Tony Dingwall played smart one-two with Martin Woods before rounding goalkeeper Connor Ripley.
Boyce then added his 12th goal of the season, converting a late penalty after he had been fouled.
Jim McIntyre's side were looking to reassert themselves after a run of three defeats in their last four outings and they did so with something to spare.
Four points separated the home side in fifth to the visitors in 10th place, highlighting how tight the mid-section of the table was prior to kick off and the importance of three points to either side.
County were first to threaten directly when Curran's challenge distracted Ripley, who managed to recover after letting the ball slip from his grasp.
The action was engaging enough without getting fans off their seats but the temperature rose when Motherwell winger Lionel Ainsworth centred and Louis Moult crashed to the ground after a nudge. Referee Crawford Allan waved play on and on first view it looked the correct decision.
County then broke and were furious when awarded a foul despite Jonathan Franks breaking through on the right.
It nearly worked out when the subsequent free-kick saw Boyce nod home, only to see the offside flag go up against Andrew Davies, who had headed the ball back across goal.
The breakthrough arrived when Dingwall danced across the box looking for an opening to strike. His drive deflected to the left, from where Woods delivered toward Curran, who hooked a shot in for a goal of real quality.
Motherwell threatened to hit back when Ainsworth dispossessed Richard Foster and drove forward with lightning pace. He had support but elected to go alone and his low shot was touched wide.
Just before the break some lovely interplay in tight areas released Franks down the right and Boyce was inches away from connecting with his searching cross.
Boyce perhaps should have scored early in the second half when the ball arrived at his feet eight yards out but he could only touch it wide.
The decisive moment arrived soon after and it was worth the wait. Dingwall executed a terrific exchange with Woods and raced away from defenders before rounding the goalkeeper to roll home.
Louis Laing came close to pulling one back with a long-range shot which narrowly missed the target, but Motherwell just could not find a solution to mount any sustained pressure.
Woods went close with an angled strike, which was touched away by Ripley, before Boyce completed the scoring.
The Northern Ireland striker was clipped in the box and his penalty was confidently lofted into the net to put the seal on a very positive afternoon for the home side.
- 17FranksSubstituted forMurdochat 84'minutes
- 19DingwallSubstituted forDe Vitaat 70'minutes
- 11CurranSubstituted forSchalkat 74'minutes
- 24De Vita
- 18LawBooked at 27mins
- 25TaylorSubstituted forRobinsonat 59'minutes
- 7AinsworthSubstituted forCaddenat 62'minutes
- 8PearsonBooked at 53mins
- Crawford Allan
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Ross County 3, Motherwell 0.
Goal! Ross County 3, Motherwell 0. Liam Boyce (Ross County) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the top left corner.
Penalty Ross County. Liam Boyce draws a foul in the penalty area.
Penalty conceded by Kieran Kennedy (Motherwell) after a foul in the penalty area.
Attempt missed. Martin Woods (Ross County) left footed shot from a difficult angle and long range on the left is just a bit too high from a direct free kick.
Liam Boyce (Ross County) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Josh Law (Motherwell).
Attempt saved. Liam Grimshaw (Motherwell) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the right is saved in the bottom right corner.
Foul by Marcus Fraser (Ross County).
Marvin Johnson (Motherwell) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Substitution, Ross County. Stewart Murdoch replaces Jonathan Franks.
Foul by Alex Schalk (Ross County).
Scott McDonald (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Corner, Ross County. Conceded by Theo Robinson.
Attempt saved. Martin Woods (Ross County) left footed shot from a difficult angle on the right is saved in the bottom right corner.
Corner, Ross County. Conceded by Marvin Johnson.
Chris Cadden (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Marcus Fraser (Ross County).
Foul by Raffaele De Vita (Ross County).