Match ends, Ross County 0, Motherwell 0.
Ross County 0-0 Motherwell
Ross County slipped below Partick Thistle to the bottom of the Scottish Premiership after drawing with Scottish Cup finalists Motherwell.
Allan Campbell tested Ross County goalkeeper Scott Fox in the first half.
Ryan Bowman was denied by Fox after the break and Well team-mates Curtis Main and Chris Cadden also went close.
County struggled to create openings throughout and now trail Hamilton Academical's victors Thistle by one point with four games to go.
Hamilton are two points further ahead of Thistle and the side finishing bottom will be relegated with the second bottom side entering a relegation play-off against one of the Championship's top sides.
There was no doubt about the commitment and effort of the players in the first half but there were precious few clear-cut chances in a bruising encounter.
The nature of play was evident as both teams lost a player to injury before the break with Motherwell's Andy Rose replaced after a clash of heads with Michael Gardyne.
Ross County's Christopher Routis did not last long either as the Frenchman suffered a nasty leg injury that needed seven stitches to fix while Staggies midfielder Jamie Lindsay was booked for flattening substitute Carl McHugh.
Perhaps that approach from the teams was not all that surprising as the home side are fighting for their lives in the top flight while Motherwell's players are determined to make sure they are in Stephen Robinson's Hampden line-up when they meet Celtic next month.
Campbell did force Fox into a full-length save early on while the visitors kept their keeper Trevor Carson well protected to the extent that he did not have a serious save to make in the opening period.
Their only real moment of anxiety came in stoppage time when Alex Schalk rolled a pass into the path of Billy Mckay but the former Inverness Caledonian Thistle striker took a touch too much when he should have hit target.
In the end he was forced to pass it on to Marcus Fraser but the County captain's shot was blocked by that hard working Motherwell defence and for long spells of the second half the game followed the same dour pattern.
The news that Partick Thistle had recovered from a goal down to lead Hamilton did not brighten the mood of the home fans as they sensed their side was about to slip back to the foot of the table.
However, things could have got a lot worse for the Highlanders had the Steelmen taken advantage of a purple patch midway through the second period as they produced a rare burst of silky soccer.
An impressive series of first-touch passes carved open the home backline climaxed by Bowman's snapshot from the edge of the penalty area that Fox saw late but got down sharply to push round the post.
Then Main sent a header flashing just past the far post to at least give County the consolation of only a second clean sheet in their last 20 games, even if they could not snatch a late winner.
They did go for it by throwing on an extra striker for the last 10 minutes and they certainly pushed forward with a real intensity but too little penetration against a resolute Motherwell defence.
Main missed a chance to really pile on the pressure for the Staggies and Chris Cadden guided an acute angled drive over the bar while at the other end Schalk did likewise when well placed.
It's just two wins in Ross County's past 21 league matches and it's a winning ratio they must improve immediately as they face a make or break double-header away to Hamilton and Partick Thistle next.
Ross County interim co-manager Steven Ferguson: "We are back at the bottom of the league after today's game but the massive positive for us is the way we stood up to a flying Motherwell team at the moment.
"They deserve a lot of credit for the way they go about things as they have an identity and a way of playing that we had to match as we knew it would be a battle but every one of our guys stood up to it.
"Nothing has changed for us as we need to go and try and win our own matches as it's not about what happens with the other games that are outwith our control.
"If we look after our own results in the last four games then we can get the outcome we want and there's no way Motherwell will ease up against the others before the cup final."
Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson: "As the game went on we ground them down a bit but it was a scrappy affair against a team that is fighting for their lives but we matched them all the way.
"That was our 18th clean sheet of the season so the boys deserve a lot of credit and we created some really good chances so I feel we should have gone on to win the game.
"Our quality could have been better at times but it was a tough game and there wasn't a lot of time on the ball for the players."
- 4RoutisSubstituted forNaismithat 18'minutes
- 32FontaineBooked at 90mins
- 18LindsayBooked at 45mins
- 7GardyneSubstituted forN'Gogat 80'minutes
- 10SchalkBooked at 53mins
- 22MckaySubstituted forCurranat 65'minutes
- 21KipreBooked at 54mins
- 4GrimshawSubstituted forBigirimanaat 77'minutes
- 15RoseSubstituted forMcHughat 21'minutes
- 9MainSubstituted forScottat 90+2'minutes
- Alan Muir
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Ross County 0, Motherwell 0.
Substitution, Motherwell. James Scott replaces Curtis Main.
Liam Fontaine (Ross County) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Liam Fontaine (Ross County).
Chris Cadden (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt missed. Carl McHugh (Motherwell) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.
Attempt missed. Chris Cadden (Motherwell) right footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high.
Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Max Melbourne.
Attempt missed. Alex Schalk (Ross County) left footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high.
Attempt missed. Curtis Main (Motherwell) left footed shot from the left side of the box is close, but misses to the right.
Corner, Ross County. Conceded by Cedric Kipre.
Substitution, Ross County. David N'Gog replaces Michael Gardyne.
Michael Gardyne (Ross County) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Ryan Bowman (Motherwell).
Attempt missed. Michael Gardyne (Ross County) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right.
Ross Draper (Ross County) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Gael Bigirimana (Motherwell).
Substitution, Motherwell. Gael Bigirimana replaces Liam Grimshaw.
Foul by Craig Curran (Ross County).
Ryan Bowman (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Alex Schalk (Ross County).
Carl McHugh (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Attempt blocked. Max Melbourne (Ross County) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Attempt missed. Curtis Main (Motherwell) header from the right side of the six yard box misses to the left following a corner.
Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Scott Fox.
Attempt saved. Ryan Bowman (Motherwell) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner.
Substitution, Ross County. Craig Curran replaces Billy McKay.
Foul by Marcus Fraser (Ross County).
Cedric Kipre (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Harry Souttar.
Delay in match Curtis Main (Motherwell) because of an injury.
Liam Fontaine (Ross County) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Curtis Main (Motherwell).
Cedric Kipre (Motherwell) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Liam Fontaine (Ross County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Cedric Kipre (Motherwell).
Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Jamie Lindsay.
Alex Schalk (Ross County) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Alex Schalk (Ross County).