Michael Higdon scored a hat-trick as Motherwell beat Inverness to move top of the Scottish Premier League.

The hosts raced into a two-goal lead with Tom Hateley scoring directly from an 11th-minute corner and Higdon netting a quick second.

Richie Foran nodded one back for the Highlanders.

Higdon took advantage of a mistake to score his second and then completed his treble before Andrew Shinnie's missed penalty for the visitors.

Stuart McCall's side move a point above Celtic, who have a game in hand, while Inverness slip to second bottom, one point in front of St Johnstone.

Motherwell forward Michael Higdon

Higdon's treble sent Motherwell top of the SPL

Inverness midfielder Ross Draper tested Darren Randolph with an early shot but the visitors soon found themselves with a mountain to climb as Stuart McCall's side scored twice within the space of two minutes.

Hateley's whipped corner deceived goalkeeper Ryan Esson and ended in the net.

And it got better for the hosts as Chris Humphrey crossed for Higdon to convert.

The visitors tried to respond with strikes by Aaron Doran and Owain Tudor Jones but neither posed much of a problem for Randolph.

But Foran did register for Inverness, with the midfielder netting against his former club.

Doran's corner was cleared but Jones returned the ball into the box and Foran directed a header past Randolph.

And the Inverness captain could have levelled before the break, with Randolph blocking his initial shot before Foran tamely headed the rebound wide.

Foran continued to pose a threat in the second half as Inverness sought to take advantage of any Motherwell tiredness following their Europa League defeat by Levante on Thursday.

Higdon also tried to double his personal tally, but the big striker's volley was wide.

But the former St Mirren player took advantage of David Raven's wayward passback and finished well past Esson.

And Higdon then hammered Henrik Ojamaa's cross into the net 11 minutes from the end.

Inverness had the chance to reduce their deficit after Jonathan Page had fouled Foran in the box but Andrew Shinnie's penalty was saved by Randolph.

Lineup, Bookings (2) & Substitutions (6)

Motherwell

  • 01 Randolph
  • 19 Kerr
  • 20 Page Booked
  • 26 Francis-Angol
  • 30 Cummins
  • 04 Law (Murphy - 64' )
  • 06 Hateley
  • 07 Humphrey (Carswell - 84' )
  • 14 Lasley
  • 09 Higdon
  • 16 McHugh (Ojamaa - 73' )

Substitutes

  • 12 Hollis
  • 36 Murray
  • 17 Daley
  • 18 Carswell
  • 27 Hetherington
  • 08 Ojamaa
  • 11 Murphy

Inverness CT

  • 01 Esson
  • 02 Raven
  • 03 Shinnie Booked
  • 05 Warren
  • 14 Meekings
  • 04 Tudur-Jones (Morrison - 64' )
  • 08 Draper
  • 10 Shinnie (Pepper - 81' )
  • 09 Foran
  • 17 Doran
  • 18 Sutherland (McKay - 79' )

Substitutes

  • 12 Reguero
  • 19 Morrison
  • 20 Laing
  • 21 Polworth
  • 22 Pepper
  • 07 McKay
Ref: O'Reilly
Att: 4,031

Match Stats

Shots

11 14

On target

6 9

Corners

10 10

Fouls

16 11

Live Text Commentary

90:00 +3:37 Full time

Full Time The game is over, as the referee blows his whistle.

90:00 +3:11

Aaron Doran takes the outswinging corner, save made by Darren Randolph.

90:00 +2:46

The ball is delivered by David Raven, blocked by Zaine Francis-Angol. Short corner worked by Aaron Doran.

90:00 +2:04

Unfair challenge on Gary Warren by Henrik Ojamaa results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Gary Warren.

79:00 Substitution

Substitution (Inverness CT) makes a substitution, with Billy McKay coming on for Shane Sutherland.

89:16

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Ross Draper by Henrik Ojamaa. Josh Meekings takes the free kick.

88:25

David Raven sends in a cross.

86:20

Free kick awarded for a foul by Henrik Ojamaa on Graeme Shinnie. Josh Meekings takes the direct free kick.

84:48

Corner taken by Aaron Doran from the left by-line, Foul by Richie Foran on Darren Randolph, free kick awarded. Darren Randolph restarts play with the free kick.

83:49 Substitution

Substitution Stewart Carswell is brought on as a substitute for Chris Humphrey.

80:51 Substitution

Substitution Conor Pepper on for Andrew Shinnie.

80:35 Penalty

Placed penalty taken by Andrew Shinnie saved by Darren Randolph. Motherwell 4-1 Inverness CT.

79:52 Booking

Booking Jonathan Page receives a caution for unsporting behaviour.

79:44

Penalty awarded for a foul by Jonathan Page on Richie Foran.

78:36

Henrik Ojamaa provided the assist for the goal.

78:36 Goal scored

Goal! - Michael Higdon - Motherwell 4 - 1 Inverness Michael Higdon scores a goal from inside the penalty area to the top right corner of the goal. Motherwell 4-1 Inverness CT.

76:18

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Andrew Shinnie by Jonathan Page. Richie Foran has a direct shot on goal from the free kick, save by Darren Randolph.

74:58

Corner taken by Andrew Shinnie.

74:48

Gary Warren has an effort at goal from 12 yards. Darren Randolph makes a save.

73:47

Short corner worked by Aaron Doran. The ball is sent over by Aaron Doran, clearance made by Michael Higdon.

72:51

The ball is delivered by Aaron Doran, Jonathan Page makes a clearance. Ross Draper has an effort at goal from just outside the box which goes wide of the left-hand upright.

72:15 Substitution

Substitution Henrik Ojamaa joins the action as a substitute, replacing Robert McHugh.

71:25 Goal scored

Goal! - Michael Higdon - Motherwell 3 - 1 Inverness Michael Higdon finds the back of the net with a goal from just inside the area to the bottom left corner of the goal. Motherwell 3-1 Inverness CT.

69:34

A cross is delivered by Chris Humphrey, Gary Warren makes a clearance.

66:57

Shot from just outside the box by Aaron Doran misses to the right of the target.

66:38

The ball is delivered by Chris Humphrey, save made by Ryan Esson.

66:16

Jamie Murphy takes a shot. Gary Warren gets a block in.

65:32

Foul by Robert McHugh on Gary Warren, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Josh Meekings.

64:20

Centre by Richie Foran, Shane Sutherland takes a shot. Zaine Francis-Angol gets a block in. Corner taken by Aaron Doran from the right by-line.

63:42 Substitution

Substitution Nicky Law leaves the field to be replaced by Jamie Murphy.

63:14 Substitution

Substitution Gavin Morrison on for Owain Tudur Jones.

61:29

Free kick crossed by Tom Hateley, clearance made by Ross Draper.

61:29 Booking

Booking Graeme Shinnie receives a caution.

61:22

Chris Humphrey fouled by Graeme Shinnie, the ref awards a free kick.

59:09

Outswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Nicky Law, Headed effort from deep inside the penalty area by Jonathan Page misses to the left of the goal.

57:07

Michael Higdon concedes a free kick for a foul on Josh Meekings. Free kick taken by Ryan Esson.

56:04

Fraser Kerr crosses the ball, Michael Higdon produces a volleyed left-footed shot from deep inside the penalty area which goes wide of the left-hand post.

54:17

Jonathan Page challenges Richie Foran unfairly and gives away a free kick. Aaron Doran sends in a cross, Richie Foran takes a shot. Save by Darren Randolph.

53:47

Nicky Law delivers the ball, save by Ryan Esson.

53:14

Fraser Kerr delivers the ball.

52:14

Adam Cummins fouled by Richie Foran, the ref awards a free kick. Darren Randolph restarts play with the free kick.

51:45

Keith Lasley produces a right-footed shot from just outside the penalty box that misses to the left of the target.

50:51

Robert McHugh is adjudged to have handled the ball. Free kick taken by Ryan Esson.

49:51

Aaron Doran sends in a cross.

48:27

Zaine Francis-Angol delivers the ball, blocked by Shane Sutherland. Tom Hateley takes a inswinging corner from the left by-line played to the near post.

46:19

Corner taken right-footed by Nicky Law from the right by-line, Gary Warren manages to make a clearance.

45:34

Unfair challenge on Keith Lasley by Richie Foran results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Darren Randolph.

45:01

The match restarts for the second half.

44:31

Fraser Kerr crosses the ball, save by Ryan Esson.

44:20 Half time

Half Time The referee calls an end to the first half.

43:13

Richie Foran takes a shot. Save by Darren Randolph. Headed effort from close range by Richie Foran goes wide left of the target.

40:09

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Aaron Doran by Tom Hateley. Free kick taken by Josh Meekings.

37:47

The ball is swung over by Chris Humphrey, David Raven manages to make a clearance.

37:08

Chris Humphrey sends in a cross, blocked by Graeme Shinnie. Outswinging corner taken by Nicky Law from the right by-line played to the near post, clearance made by Gary Warren.

35:27

Gary Warren concedes a free kick for a foul on Michael Higdon. Free kick taken by Adam Cummins.

34:35

Michael Higdon produces a right-footed shot from just outside the area that goes harmlessly over the target.

33:00

Jonathan Page fouled by Richie Foran, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Jonathan Page.

32:24

Shot from deep inside the area by Keith Lasley clears the bar.

30:37

The assistant referee signals for offside against Robert McHugh. Direct free kick taken by Josh Meekings.

29:54

Foul by Keith Lasley on Richie Foran, free kick awarded. Ross Draper restarts play with the free kick. Effort from just outside the area by Aaron Doran goes over the target.

29:02

Richie Foran produces a cross, save by Darren Randolph.

28:25

Graeme Shinnie challenges Robert McHugh unfairly and gives away a free kick. Jonathan Page restarts play with the free kick.

27:19

Assist by Owain Tudur Jones.

27:19 Goal scored

Goal! - Richie Foran - Motherwell 2 - 1 Inverness Richie Foran scores a headed goal from close in. Motherwell 2-1 Inverness CT.

26:35

David Raven takes a shot. Save made by Darren Randolph. Inswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Aaron Doran.

25:48

The ball is delivered by Shane Sutherland.

25:17

Short corner taken by Andrew Shinnie.

23:37

Corner taken by Graeme Shinnie, Darren Randolph makes a save.

23:05

Free kick awarded for a foul by Tom Hateley on Ross Draper. Direct free kick taken by Graeme Shinnie.

22:25

Corner taken right-footed by Tom Hateley to the near post, free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Gary Warren by Michael Higdon. Ryan Esson takes the free kick.

21:00

Unfair challenge on Michael Higdon by Josh Meekings results in a free kick. Free kick crossed by Tom Hateley, clearance made by Gary Warren. Short corner taken by Tom Hateley, Tom Hateley takes a shot. Ryan Esson makes a save.

20:08

Owain Tudur Jones takes a shot. Save by Darren Randolph.

18:43

Richie Foran concedes a free kick for a foul on Fraser Kerr. Darren Randolph takes the free kick.

18:14

Free kick awarded for a foul by Jonathan Page on Richie Foran. Free kick taken by Owain Tudur Jones.

17:04

Michael Higdon concedes a free kick for a foul on Josh Meekings. Josh Meekings restarts play with the free kick.

16:31

Shot from outside the area by Aaron Doran misses to the left of the goal.

14:32

Unfair challenge on Gary Warren by Michael Higdon results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Ryan Esson.

14:02

Gary Warren concedes a free kick for a foul on Michael Higdon. Darren Randolph takes the free kick.

11:46

Assist on the goal came from Chris Humphrey.

11:46 Goal scored

Goal! - Michael Higdon - Motherwell 2 - 0 Inverness Michael Higdon finds the net with a goal from close range to the bottom right corner of the goal. Motherwell 2-0 Inverness CT.

11:46

The ball is crossed by Chris Humphrey,

10:27 Goal scored

Goal! - Tom Hateley - Motherwell 1 - 0 Inverness Goal scored by Tom Hateley from just outside the box to the bottom left corner of the goal. Motherwell 1-0 Inverness CT.

9:39

Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Tom Hateley from the left by-line to the near post,

9:14

Corner from the right by-line taken by Nicky Law, Josh Meekings makes a clearance.

8:48

Nicky Law takes a short corner.

7:35

Chris Humphrey concedes a free kick for a foul on Graeme Shinnie. Graeme Shinnie takes the direct free kick.

7:04

Jonathan Page fouled by Richie Foran, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Jonathan Page.

6:41

A cross is delivered by Chris Humphrey.

5:49

Robert McHugh takes a shot. Blocked by Gary Warren. Nicky Law takes a outswinging corner from the right by-line to the near post, Josh Meekings makes a clearance.

5:15

The assistant referee signals for offside against Richie Foran. Darren Randolph takes the free kick.

4:37

The offside flag is raised against Richie Foran. Free kick taken by Darren Randolph.

1:47

Ross Draper produces a drilled left-footed shot from 20 yards. Darren Randolph makes a save. Graeme Shinnie takes a inswinging corner to the near post, save by Darren Randolph.

1:04

Chris Humphrey delivers the ball.

0:00

The referee gets the game underway.

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