Scott McDonald scored a first-half hat-trick as Middlesbrough hammered Hull to put a major dent in City's hopes of claiming a play-off place.

Jay Simpson's close-range shot put Hull ahead, but McDonald scored twice with two 12-yard strikes in quick succession to swing the game Boro's way.

Julio Arca added a third from close range before McDonald completed his treble on the stroke of half-time.

Anthony Gerrard's 30-yard strike pulled a goal back for Hull.

The result means Hull miss out on the chance to go level on points with sixth-placed Nottingham Forest and two other sides - Leeds and Burnley - who are chasing a spot in the play-offs.

The Tigers remain on 63 points, three points behind the aforementioned teams with three games to play.

Boro have spent the season languishing in the lower reaches of the table but they produced a first-half masterclass here to blow away their opponents and secure a victory that mathematically ensured they will be playing Championship football next season.

It began so well for the home side when Simpson latched on to a pass from Richard Garcia and drove a left-footed shot into the top corner from six yards out in only the third minute.

But before the quarter-hour mark, the home side found themselves trailing after McDonald struck two right-footed shots past home keeper Vito Mannone, both from close range.

Arca's strike in the 26th minute and McDonald's third goal, three minutes into first-half injury time, decided the game in the away side's favour.

With 21 minutes to go, Gerrard scored arguably the goal of the game when he lashed in from 30 yards, but by then it was never going to affect the result.

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Live Text Commentary

90:00 +4:03 Full time

Full Time The referee ends the match.

90:00 +2:39

Leroy Lita takes a shot.

90:00 +0:50

The assistant referee flags for offside against Marvin Emnes. Indirect free kick taken by Matt Duke.

89:36

Barry Robson delivers the ball, Julio Arca takes a shot. Jack Hobbs makes a save.

88:29

Willo Flood fouled by Corry Evans, the ref awards a free kick. Andrew Taylor takes the free kick.

88:11

James Chester sends in a cross, Matthew Bates makes a clearance.

86:00

Aaron Mclean challenges Matthew Bates unfairly and gives away a free kick. Paul Smith restarts play with the free kick.

84:38

Corner taken left-footed by Tom Cairney, Aaron Mclean produces a header from deep inside the six-yard box that clears the crossbar.

84:19

Centre by Leroy Lita, clearance by Jack Hobbs. Barry Robson takes a shot. Save by Matt Duke.

83:14

Robert Koren delivers the ball, clearance by Willo Flood.

82:11

Effort from deep inside the area by Corry Evans clears the bar.

81:17

Shot from just outside the box by Jay Simpson goes over the bar.

79:37

A cross is delivered by Andy Dawson, save made by Paul Smith.

79:08

Unfair challenge on Robert Koren by Maximilian Haas results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Andy Dawson.

77:52

James Chester gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Julio Arca. Free kick taken by Andrew Taylor.

76:46

The assistant referee flags for offside against Marvin Emnes. Anthony Gerrard takes the free kick.

75:53

Unfair challenge on Aaron Mclean by Matthew Bates results in a free kick. The free kick is swung in left-footed by Tom Cairney, clearance by Willo Flood.

75:24

Shot from just outside the box by Leroy Lita goes over the bar.

73:45

Andy Dawson gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Leroy Lita. Barry Robson produces a strike on goal direct from the free kick.

72:06

Free kick crossed by Robert Koren, Paul Smith makes a save.

72:06 Booking

Booking Maximilian Haas is booked.

71:59

Free kick awarded for a foul by Maximilian Haas on Robert Koren.

71:19

Willo Flood gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Jack Hobbs. Indirect free kick taken by Andy Dawson.

70:47

Barry Robson gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Andy Dawson. Matt Duke restarts play with the free kick.

70:03 Substitution

Substitution Willo Flood on for Richard Smallwood.

68:53

Assist by Robert Koren.

68:53 Goal scored

Goal! - Anthony Gerrard - Hull 2 - 4 Middlesbro Anthony Gerrard fires in a goal from long distance to the bottom left corner of the goal. Hull 2-4 Middlesbrough.

68:04

Unfair challenge on Robert Koren by Maximilian Haas results in a free kick. Robert Koren takes the direct free kick.

67:24

Centre by Jay Simpson, save made by Paul Smith.

66:25 Substitution

Substitution Leroy Lita joins the action as a substitute, replacing Scott McDonald.

65:29

Matt Fryatt has an effort at goal from just outside the box which goes wide of the right-hand post.

64:33 Substitution

Substitution Andrew Davies is brought on as a substitute for Stephen McManus.

61:28

Matt Fryatt has an effort at goal from close in which goes wide right of the goal.

59:53

Matt Fryatt gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Maximilian Haas. Free kick taken by Paul Smith.

59:08

Marvin Emnes has an effort at goal from just outside the box which goes wide of the right-hand upright.

58:49

Tom Cairney concedes a free kick for a foul on Julio Arca. Andrew Taylor restarts play with the free kick.

57:20 Substitution

Substitution Tom Cairney is brought on as a substitute for Richard Garcia.

56:46

Centre by Aaron Mclean, Stephen McManus manages to make a clearance.

55:30

The assistant referee flags for offside against Scott McDonald. Matt Duke takes the free kick.

54:37

Shot from just outside the box by Robert Koren goes over the bar.

51:44

Shot from just outside the box by Richard Smallwood goes over the bar.

49:56

Matt Fryatt takes a shot.

49:06

The assistant referee flags for offside against Matt Fryatt. Paul Smith takes the free kick.

47:16

Scott McDonald is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Indirect free kick taken by Matt Duke. The assistant referee flags for offside against Matt Fryatt. Paul Smith takes the free kick.

45:45

Barry Robson crosses the ball, Anthony Gerrard manages to make a clearance.

45:01

The second half begins.

45:01 Substitution

Substitution Vito Mannone goes off and Matt Duke comes on.

45:00 +3:59 Half time

Half Time The ref blows to signal half-time.

45:00 +2:15

Barry Robson provided the assist for the goal.

45:00 +2:15 Goal scored

Goal! - Scott McDonald - Hull 1 - 4 Middlesbro Scott McDonald finds the back of the net with a goal from close in low into the middle of the goal. Hull 1-4 Middlesbrough.

45:00 +1:18

Scott McDonald takes a shot. Save by Vito Mannone. Marvin Emnes takes a shot. Save by Vito Mannone. Kevin Thomson takes a shot. Save made by Vito Mannone.

44:50

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Richard Garcia by Maximilian Haas. Free kick crossed by Robert Koren, clearance made by Maximilian Haas.

43:06

Marvin Emnes is caught offside. Free kick taken by Vito Mannone.

42:42

Foul by Andy Dawson on Barry Robson, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Kevin Thomson.

40:08

Barry Robson produces a cross.

39:35

Scott McDonald fouled by Anthony Gerrard, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick crossed left-footed by Barry Robson from right wing, clearance by Andy Dawson.

39:08

Barry Robson fouled by Corry Evans, the ref awards a free kick. Indirect free kick taken by Maximilian Haas.

35:37

Indirect free kick taken by Vito Mannone.

35:37 Substitution

Substitution Aaron Mclean replaces Liam Rosenior.

35:37

The assistant referee signals for offside against Scott McDonald.

35:24

Jack Hobbs produces a cross, clearance made by Maximilian Haas.

33:28

Matt Fryatt fouled by Richard Smallwood, the ref awards a free kick. Robert Koren crosses the ball from the free kick right-footed from left channel, Paul Smith makes a save.

30:26

Robert Koren takes a shot. Save by Paul Smith. Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Andy Dawson.

29:46

Matt Fryatt is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Indirect free kick taken by Paul Smith.

27:25

James Chester gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Barry Robson. Barry Robson takes the indirect free kick.

25:07 Goal scored

Goal! - Julio Arca - Hull 1 - 3 Middlesbro Julio Arca finds the net with a goal from inside the box low into the middle of the goal. Hull 1-3 Middlesbrough.

24:45

Centre by Matt Fryatt, clearance by Andrew Taylor.

23:30

Centre by Richard Garcia.

22:14

Robert Koren takes a shot. Blocked by Stephen McManus.

21:31

Corner taken short by Robert Koren, The ball is delivered by Andy Dawson, Maximilian Haas manages to make a clearance.

20:49

Shot from just outside the box by Scott McDonald misses to the right of the target.

19:36

The offside flag is raised against Jay Simpson. Paul Smith takes the indirect free kick.

15:14

Scott McDonald delivers the ball, Julio Arca takes a shot. Save by Vito Mannone.

14:05

Scott McDonald is caught offside. Anthony Gerrard takes the indirect free kick.

12:11 Goal scored

Goal! - Scott McDonald - Hull 1 - 2 Middlesbro Scott McDonald grabs a goal from deep inside the penalty box low into the middle of the goal. Hull 1-2 Middlesbrough.

11:47

James Chester gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Kevin Thomson. Kevin Thomson takes the free kick.

10:52 Goal scored

Goal! - Scott McDonald - Hull 1 - 1 Middlesbro A goal is scored by Scott McDonald from inside the box to the top right corner of the goal. Hull 1-1 Middlesbrough.

8:04

Maximilian Haas delivers the ball, Julio Arca produces a right-footed shot from just outside the area that goes harmlessly over the target.

7:45

Free kick awarded for a foul by Liam Rosenior on Marvin Emnes. Andrew Taylor restarts play with the free kick.

5:46

Barry Robson concedes a free kick for a foul on Andy Dawson. Vito Mannone takes the free kick.

2:49

Assist by Richard Garcia.

2:49 Goal scored

Goal! - Jay Simpson - Hull 1 - 0 Middlesbro Jay Simpson fires in a goal from inside the six-yard box to the top left corner of the goal. Hull 1-0 Middlesbrough.

2:26

Andy Dawson delivers the ball, Richard Garcia takes a shot.

2:03

Richard Garcia challenges Kevin Thomson unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Kevin Thomson.

0:44

James Chester concedes a free kick for a foul on Kevin Thomson. Free kick taken by Matthew Bates.

0:00

The referee gets the game underway.

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