Motherwell closed in on seventh place in the Premiership with a thumping win over Livingston at Fir Park.
The Steelmen were 3-0 up and cruising inside 34 minutes through a Kevin van Veen double and a clinical strike from Max Johnston that had the home fans purring at Fir Park.
That moved Stuart Kettlewell’s side to within three points of their beaten visitors as they continue to stretch away from the relegation pack at the bottom of the table.
Motherwell’s resurgence under Kettlewell is coming just a little bit too late to realistically pinch a top-six slot, but with bottom side Dundee United due here next week they could go close, ahead of a trip to Celtic Park in their final pre-split fixture.
Van Veen got Motherwell off the mark in nine minutes with a rocket into the top right corner and doubled his and Motherwell’s lead in 33 minutes with a rifled finish into the bottom right corner.
Sixty seconds later, Motherwell were 3-0 up through Johnston and cruising to three points..
Livi tried to get back into the game in the second half but everybody pretty much knew it was game over, and Motherwell could afford to take their foot off the pedal a bit.
Livi gaffer Davie Martindale made three changes to the side that lost to St Mirren last time out. Steven Bradley, Stephane Omeonga and Stephen Kelly came in for Morgan Boyes, Andrew Shinnie and Scott Pittman, all of whom dropped to the bench.
Motherwell created the first real chance in five minutes when Kevin van Veen fed the ball through to Max Johnston, but his tame, low shot was comfortably saved by Shamal George.
The hosts took the lead in nine minutes, and what a goal it was!
Sean Goss raced upfield, picked out Mikael Mandron on the left, he fed James Furlong and his low cross found van Veen inside the box, who thundered a shot into the top right corner.
Livi passed up a decent chance to level in 19 minutes when Bradley’s cross from the right was just too far ahead of Joel Nouble as he stretched to meet it, and Liam Kelly gathered.
A minute later Well were 3-0 up and cruising when McGinn played Spittal through and his shot was blocked by George, but fell to Johnston to smash into the empty net.
Spittal had a good shot well saved by George in 53 minutes when the ball broke to him after van Veen found his path to goal blocked.
Spittal had a shot deflected just past the post in 70 minutes as Motherwell went in search of a fourth, and Casey hit the right post from the set-piece.
Match Report: Andy McGilvray (Daily Record)
Motherwell: Kelly ©️, McGinn, Butcher (Lamie 58), Casey, Furlong, Goss, Cornelius (Aitchison 81), Johnston (O’Donnell 81 ▊), Spittal, van Veen, Mandron (Paton 64)
Subs not used: Mugabi, Slattery, Oxborough, McKinstry, Blaney
Goals: van Veen (9 & 33), Johnston (34)
Livingston: George, Devlin ©️, de Lucas (Boyes 45), Fitzwater, Bradley (Bahamboula 69), Penrice (Brandon 83), Omeonga, Holt (Shinnie 69), St.Kelly, Nouble, Guthrie ▊ (Anderson 69)
Subs not used: Hamilton, Sn.Kelly, Pittman
Referee: Grant Irvine