Motherwell ended the 2016/17 season with a 3-2 loss away to Inverness this afternoon.
And with Hamilton securing victory over Dundee, the ‘Well finished the campaign in 9th whilst the Caley Jags were condemned to bottom spot and automatic relegation to the Championship.
‘Well boss Stephen Robinson named youngster Shea Gordon in the starting line-up as he searched for a third consecutive victory and the chance to finish as high as eighth.
And a hard-working first half performance saw the Steelmen quell what could have been a fired up Inverness side, with neither side creating much in the opening ten minutes.
Ex-Well man Louis Laing was the first to hit the target when his low effort from 20 yards was pushed wide by Griffiths.
Down the other end, Lionel Ainsworth went close with a similar effort, which beat Ryan Esson in the Caley goal but flashed wide of the post too.
Liam Polworth’s tricky run was nearly matched by a fantastic finish, but the midfielder sent his curling effort just beyond the corner of the post and bar and it remained goalless.
Carl McHugh came close to firing home his third goal in a Motherwell jersey and his second in two games when he sauntered forward unchallenged and struck a decent effort narrowly past the target from 30-yards.
And just as it looked like the two sides would go in to the interval level, Chris Cadden had other plans as he picked the ball up on the right flank and drove forward past two challenges and blasted a terrific effort at goal from inside the box, but it flew narrowly over the bar.
The hosts started the second half on the front foot and went close from a set piece, when Gary Warren’s back post header flew narrowly past the post.
They took the lead after the hour mark though when Greg Tansey raced free in the middle of the park and struck a low effort past Russell Griffiths.
And the opener saw Motherwell crumble defensively as the hosts bagged three goals in three minutes.
Alex Fisher finished off a scuffed shot from Ross Draper by striking high in to the top corner from inside the box and two minutes later the same duo combined to put the hosts three in front.
Stephen Robinson elected to change things by bringing on James McFadden for Louis Moult, and within seconds his decision was rewarded.
Elliott Frear cut inside on to his left foot before striking a tremendous effort off the cross bar, but the awaiting McFadden was there to nod the ball past Esson to restore some pride for the travelling supporters.
With just a couple of minutes remaining, Craig Clay was tripped in the box and the Fir Parkers were awarded a penalty and perhaps a chance of salvaging a point.
Ryan Bowman made no mistake from the spot but it was too little too late for the travelling Steelmen.
[tab:As it happened]
FT: Inverness CT 3 – 2 Motherwell #ICTFCvMFCTranslate from German
..converted by Bowman!
90+2’ | 3-1
‘Well have a penalty….
Two minutes added on.
88′ | 3-1
McFadden lays it off to Hammell about 25 yards out but he fires just over the bar
76′ | 3-1
ICT sub, Mulraney on for Polworth
73′ | 3-1
GOAL! Frear hits the bar from distance and McFadden nods in the rebound!
72′ | 3-0
Motherwell sub, McFadden on for Moult
68′ | 3-0
Goal – Another goal for ICT. Fisher heading in at the backpost.
66′ | 2-0
Motherwell sub, Gordon off for Bowman
66′ | 2-0
Goal – Draper scuffs his shot straight into the path of Fisher who fires past Griffiths
63′ | 1-0
Goal – ICT take the lead through Tansey
59′ | 0-0
Free-kick to ICT on the edge of the box. Vigurs to take…straight at Griffiths
56′ | 0-0
Motherwell sub, Livingstone on for Ainsworth
55′ | 0-0
Corner to Caley…..Warren head just past at the back post!
Second half underway.
HT: Inverness CT 0 – 0 Motherwell #ICTFCvMFC
41′ | 0-0
So close! Cadden run the length of the pitch with the ball, skinning two in the process but blasts just over from 12 yards!
25′ | 0-0
McHugh drifts forward unchallenged and his shot from about 30 yards and it goes inches wide.
20′ | 0-0
Good chance for Draper as he gets the ball in the box but he curls it well over the bar. Should have hit the target.
17′ | 0-0
Polworth twists and turns and from a decent position blasts well over the bar.
15′ | 0-0
Close! Great play between Ainsworth and Moult sets the winger up on his left foot but it trickles past the post with Esson beaten
12′ | 0-0
Laing fizzes one from distance but Griffiths is equal to it, palming it wide for a corner.
9’ | 0-0
Both sides getting some crosses into the box but no opportunities as yet
Gordon gets the game underway. COYW!!!
Both teams come out the tunnel. Cold and wet here in the highlands.
Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson:
Inverness CT manager Richie Foran: