Motherwell were punished for a lack of cutting edge as Dundee United ran out 2-0 winners in the cinch Premiership.
Goals from Dylan Levitt and Tony Watt sealed the win for United in a game where ‘Well should have been out of sight with their spurned chances in the first half.
Motherwell saw four changes from the team which lost to Celtic at home at the weekend.
Juhani Ojala, Kaiyne Woolery and Jordan Roberts were restored to the side, with Joe Efford making his first start. Stephen O’Donnell, Jake Carroll, Dean Cornelius and Kevin van Veen dropped to the bench.
It was almost an incredible dream start for ‘Well.
With just 10 seconds on the clock, Slattery’s pass inside to Goss saw the midfielder unleash a shot on goal from 30 yards.
Siegrist was completely beaten, but Goss saw his shot rattle the crossbar and bounce clear.
Seconds later, Goss had another chance on goal with a free-kick from 25 yards, but the ball just wouldn’t come down quick enough as it landed on the roof of the net.
‘Well were by far the brighter but almost came undone with 10 minutes on the clock.
Harkes’ defence-splitting pass through the middle caught Ojala on his heels and allowed McNulty in behind.
The forward shrugged off the desperate late attentions of the Finn, before sending his shot on an angle from the left into the side netting.
Motherwell continued positively, sending bodies forward and looking to get crosses into the box for the forwards to attack.
Donnelly would see a half-volley from 20 yards blocked as he tried to smash it through a sea of bodies while, at the other end, a superb last-ditch intervention from Mugabi denied Niskanen as he went to pull the trigger.
A clear chance would also fall the way of Efford at the midway point. Bursting forward and with Woolery and Roberts other side to assist, the American elected to shoot from just inside the area after getting free, but saw his effort fly over.
The chances kept coming. Next, Woolery took flight down the left, squaring to the penalty spot for Roberts, but he flashed his effort wide.
Remarkably, a sucker punch would arrive on the half-hour mark.
A cross from the right was cleared to the edge of the box where Levitt was waiting unopposed. With a challenging ball to get under his spell. he smashed it straight into the t0p-left corner of the net to leave ‘Well scratching their heads at how they found themselves behind.
Motherwell persisted, with Slattery firing over from distance and with the attacking players consistently linking together high up the park.
The second half started slower but the visitors came out with the same intent.
A Goss free-kick from the left brought the first chance of the half, with Mugabi being blocked as he tried to steer it in at the back post, and then Slattery’s placed follow-up being diverted away from goal.
United would, however, go two ahead on the hour mark.
Niskanen was able to maraud all too freely down the left and – firing across the face of goal – he found Watt at the back post who just had to get something on it to double his team’s advantage against his old side.
Motherwell struggled to get back in it after that, despite the introduction of four substitutions, as United saw the game through.
Headers from Tierney and Solholm troubled the United goal, but it would end with another defeat for the Steelmen.
Motherwell: Kelly, Mugabi, Solholm, Ojala, McGinley, Donnelly (Shields), Goss, Slattery (Cornelius), Woolery (Tierney), Roberts (Van Veen), Efford.
Subs not used: Fox, O’Donnell, Carroll, Grimshaw, Shaw.