Scottish Premiership
Motherwell4Ross County1

Motherwell 4-1 Ross County

Scott McDonald heads in Motherwell's opening goal
Scott McDonald headed in Motherwell's opening goal

Motherwell condemned Ross County to a ninth Premiership game without a win as they thumped the visitors at Fir Park.

Scott McDonald headed home Lionel Ainsworth's free-kick early on before Louis Moult's strike deflected in off County defender Kenny van der Weg.

Right-back Richard Tait hammered the third past County keeper Scott Fox and Ainsworth went past two defenders before rounding Fox for the fourth.

Alex Schalk's late strike was little consolation for the Highlanders.

They have not won in the league since 20 August, and slip to 11th place after shipping four goals for a third time in four games as Well moved up to ninth after ending a run of three straight defeats.

Form v results

Before the game manager Mark McGhee was adamant Motherwell's form had been good despite three defeats, a view backed up by side's bright start.

Ainsworth flighted a simple free-kick from the right flank in the eighth minute which McDonald headed home.

Questions have to be asked of the County defending, given the Australian striker is hardly a huge aerial threat.

From there Motherwell played some neat passing football with plenty of confidence.

Eventually they got their reward. Moult drove into the box and his cutback was bundled into his own net by County left-back Van Der Weg.

Tait then made it 3-0 after a surging run down the right and a near-post shot that seemed to deceive County keeper Fox.

County lacking cutting edge

When you look at the names on the Ross County teamsheet, it is hard to see why scoring goals - Schalk's was only their third in those nine win-less games - has been such an issue.

Chris Burke, Liam Boyce, Ryan Dow, Michael Gardyne. There should be plenty of goals given that sort of personnel.

County should at least be creating more chances. Right now there appears to be a huge lack of confidence in the final third.

One bright spot was substitute Schalk, who looked lively when he came on and scored with a good low finish.

Lionel Ainsworth celebrates scoring Motherwell's fourth goal
Lionel Ainsworth celebrates scoring his second goal of the season, Motherwell's fourth goal

Ainsworth worth a watch

Consistency may be a factor, but when he is on song Motherwell winger Ainsworth can make a real difference in the Premiership.

His pace is electric and terrifies the life out of defenders, his delivery is decent and he has tricky feet.

He rounded the keeper for the fourth goal just after the hour as both he and Motherwell were flying.

Post-match reaction:

Motherwell boss Mark McGhee: "It rates up there with the best that we've produced this season.

"On Wednesday night [3-0 defeat to Inverness] we were the ones to get a bit of a doing. Today it was Ross County. And they'll do that to somebody else. That is the nature of this league.

"We see Lionel Ainsworth in training, and week in, week out he produces some brilliant stuff. He's not always produced as much as he should out there in the games. Today he was brilliant. If he plays like that he won't be out of the team."

Ross County boss Jim McIntyre: "Simply not good enough. We actually started the game quite well but then a free-kick comes into the box and we simply don't deal with it.

"We are not happy where we are. But equally we know a couple of results will change things around again.

"We have got Rangers next Sunday, we'll get rested up and then put in plenty of work in to try and rectify the performances."

Line-ups

Motherwell

  • 1Samson
  • 2Tait
  • 4HeneghanBooked at 49mins
  • 6McManus
  • 30McMillan
  • 12Cadden
  • 20Clay
  • 18LucasSubstituted forCampbellat 83'minutes
  • 7AinsworthSubstituted forMacLeanat 86'minutes
  • 77McDonald
  • 9Moult

Substitutes

  • 11Bowman
  • 13Brill
  • 16Kennedy
  • 19Blyth
  • 25Ferguson
  • 26Campbell
  • 27MacLean

Ross County

  • 1Fox
  • 2Fraser
  • 43QuinnBooked at 53mins
  • 15Davies
  • 28van der WegBooked at 39mins
  • 22Burke
  • 18McShane
  • 8Woods
  • 7GardyneSubstituted forCurranat 45'minutes
  • 9Dow
  • 10BoyceSubstituted forSchalkat 67'minutes

Substitutes

  • 3Cikos
  • 4Routis
  • 5McEveley
  • 11Curran
  • 12Chow
  • 23Schalk
  • 31McCarey
Referee:
Nick Walsh
Attendance:
3,177

Match Stats

Home TeamMotherwellAway TeamRoss County
Possession
Home49%
Away51%
Shots
Home12
Away13
Shots on Target
Home5
Away3
Corners
Home3
Away7
Fouls
Home11
Away10

Live Text

Match ends, Motherwell 4, Ross County 1.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Motherwell 4, Ross County 1.

Foul by Craig Clay (Motherwell).

Craig Curran (Ross County) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Attempt blocked. Scott McDonald (Motherwell) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Attempt saved. Andrew Davies (Ross County) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

Corner, Ross County. Conceded by Jack McMillan.

Substitution

Substitution, Motherwell. Ross MacLean replaces Lionel Ainsworth.

Attempt missed. Martin Woods (Ross County) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left.

Substitution

Substitution, Motherwell. Allan Campbell replaces Lee Lucas.

Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Scott Fox.

Attempt saved. Lee Lucas (Motherwell) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top right corner.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Goal!

Goal! Motherwell 4, Ross County 1. Alex Schalk (Ross County) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Marcus Fraser with a cross.

Foul by Stephen McManus (Motherwell).

Craig Curran (Ross County) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Attempt missed. Lionel Ainsworth (Motherwell) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.

Attempt saved. Scott McDonald (Motherwell) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

Foul by Louis Moult (Motherwell).

Paul Quinn (Ross County) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Paul Quinn.

Attempt missed. Lionel Ainsworth (Motherwell) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left.

Attempt missed. Craig Curran (Ross County) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.

Attempt blocked. Chris Burke (Ross County) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Corner, Ross County. Conceded by Craig Samson.

Attempt saved. Alex Schalk (Ross County) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner.

Substitution

Substitution, Ross County. Alex Schalk replaces Liam Boyce.

Attempt missed. Lionel Ainsworth (Motherwell) right footed shot from the right side of the six yard box misses to the left.

Goal!

Goal! Motherwell 4, Ross County 0. Lionel Ainsworth (Motherwell) right footed shot from very close range to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Scott McDonald.

Foul by Craig Clay (Motherwell).

Chris Burke (Ross County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Lee Lucas (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Martin Woods (Ross County).

Corner, Ross County. Conceded by Richard Tait.

Attempt blocked. Scott McDonald (Motherwell) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked.

Foul by Stephen McManus (Motherwell).

Craig Curran (Ross County) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Lionel Ainsworth (Motherwell) hits the bar with a right footed shot from outside the box from a direct free kick.

Booking

Paul Quinn (Ross County) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Paul Quinn (Ross County).

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Celtic109103182328
2Rangers115421512319
3Hearts115331912718
4Aberdeen115331710718
5St Johnstone125341513218
6Inverness CT123541921-214
7Partick Thistle113441415-113
8Kilmarnock123451223-1113
9Motherwell113351518-312
10Hamilton112541216-411
11Ross County12246922-1310
12Dundee122371018-89
View full Scottish Premiership table

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