Michael Higdon scored twice as Motherwell comfortably beat Dundee United in the Scottish Premier League.

The Englishman's fine strike and Henrik Ojamaa's low drive put Motherwell two up inside eight minutes.

Higdon fired his second after the break before Jon Daly's shot pulled one back for the hosts.

But United could not make a further dent in the scoreline and victory for 'Well means Celtic need to wait until their match on Sunday to win the SPL.

One point against Inverness will secure the championship for the Glasgow side on their own patch, while at the same time handing Motherwell a strong advantage in the battle for second spot.

The Steelmen made the most impressive of starts at Tannadice.

After initial good work from James McFadden, Higdon hammered an unstoppable shot in off the post from 30 yards.

Ojamaa soon added a second. The Estonian picked up outside the United box and drifted past Sean Dillon before drawing Radoslaw Cierznak out and stabbing home with the outside of his right foot.

In between those efforts the United goalkeeper had to dive into a throng of players to beat away a shot from the right by Chris Humphrey.

The hosts gradually fought their way back into the game and created several good chances.

Daly ghosted to the near post to meet Stuart Armstrong's cross but Darren Randolph blocked with his chest.

And then Ryan Gauld's chip nicked the bar following an exchange with Armstrong.

As half-time neared, Gary Mackay-Steven cut in from the left and drove the ball off Tom Hateley, only to see a seemingly net-bound ball brilliantly saved by Randolph's athletic save.

Motherwell added to their lead just 10 minutes after the restart and it was Higdon who struck for his second goal, squeezing home a low shot after a neat combination with Humphrey.

Willo Flood cracked the post with a free-kick as United went looking for a consolation but a goal for the home side finally came when Daly swivelled on to a ball from Mackay-Steven to fire low through the legs of Randolph.

The Motherwell keeper saved an Armstrong effort moments later and then had to spring to his left to beat away a powerful Mackay-Steven drive after the wide player showed tidy skills to cut in and unleash the shot.

The home side pressed hard but Motherwell had the nous and experience to see the game out and move six points clear of Inverness.

Lineup, Bookings (4) & Substitutions (5)

Dundee Utd

  • 01 Cierzniak
  • 02 Dillon
  • 03 Douglas
  • 04 McLean Booked
  • 44 Souttar
  • 06 Flood
  • 08 Rankin (Dow - 70' )
  • 11 Mackay-Steven (Boulding - 87' )
  • 16 Armstrong
  • 38 Gauld (Gardyne - 82' )
  • 09 Daly

Substitutes

  • 31 Anderson
  • 17 Tornstrand
  • 33 Johnston
  • 10 Ryan
  • 15 Gardyne
  • 18 Dow
  • 19 Boulding

Motherwell

  • 01 Randolph
  • 03 Hammell Booked
  • 05 Hutchinson
  • 15 Ramsden Booked
  • 04 Law
  • 06 Hateley
  • 07 Humphrey (Kerr - 87' )
  • 14 Lasley
  • 08 Ojamaa Booked
  • 09 Higdon
  • 20 McFadden (Carswell - 83' )

Substitutes

  • 12 Hollis
  • 19 Kerr
  • 26 Francis-Angol
  • 30 Cummins
  • 18 Carswell
  • 11 Higginbotham
  • 16 McHugh
Ref: Beaton
Att: 5,634

Match Stats

Shots

13 9

On target

7 6

Corners

4 4

Fouls

5 15

Live Text Commentary

90:00 +2:54 Full time

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

90:00 +1:51

Fraser Kerr challenges Barry Douglas unfairly and gives away a free kick. Barry Douglas takes the free kick.

90:00 +1:11

Stewart Carswell fouled by Ryan Dow, the ref awards a free kick. Darren Randolph takes the direct free kick.

90:00 +0:40

Barry Douglas takes the direct free kick.

90:00 +0:40 Booking

Booking Booking for Henrik Ojamaa for time wasting.

90:00 +0:27

Henrik Ojamaa gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Barry Douglas.

89:50

Short corner taken by Nicky Law.

89:10

Corner taken by Nicky Law from the left by-line.

88:20

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Fraser Kerr by Ryan Dow. Free kick taken by Darren Randolph.

87:40

Free kick awarded for a foul by Michael Higdon on John Souttar. Radoslaw Cierzniak takes the direct free kick.

86:12 Substitution

Substitution Chris Humphrey leaves the field to be replaced by Fraser Kerr.

86:12 Substitution

Substitution Gary Mackay-Steven goes off and Rory Boulding comes on.

84:50

Direct free kick taken by Darren Randolph.

84:50 Booking

Booking Brian McLean is shown a yellow card.

84:41

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Nicky Law by Brian McLean.

82:30

Barry Douglas takes the free kick.

82:30 Substitution

Substitution (Motherwell) makes a substitution, with Stewart Carswell coming on for James McFadden.

82:30 Booking

Booking Stevie Hammell is given a yellow card.

82:23

Free kick awarded for a foul by Stevie Hammell on Gary Mackay-Steven.

81:22

Corner taken by Gary Mackay-Steven from the right by-line played to the near post, Chris Humphrey makes a clearance.

81:01 Substitution

Substitution Ryan Gauld leaves the field to be replaced by Michael Gardyne.

80:46

Gary Mackay-Steven takes a shot. Darren Randolph makes a save.

79:50

Barry Douglas takes a outswinging corner from the left by-line played to the near post, James McFadden manages to make a clearance.

78:24

Nicky Law is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Indirect free kick taken by Radoslaw Cierzniak.

74:44

Direct free kick taken by Sean Dillon.

74:44 Booking

Booking Simon Ramsden receives a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.

74:32

Unfair challenge on John Souttar by Henrik Ojamaa results in a free kick.

71:23

Foul by Stevie Hammell on Ryan Dow, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Willo Flood.

70:22

Stuart Armstrong takes a shot. Save made by Darren Randolph.

69:19 Substitution

Substitution John Rankin goes off and Ryan Dow comes on.

68:32

Assist by Gary Mackay-Steven.

68:32 Goal scored

Goal! - Jon Daly - Dundee U 1 - 3 Motherwell Goal scored by Jon Daly from inside the penalty box low into the middle of the goal. Dundee Utd 1-3 Motherwell.

61:57

Shaun Hutchinson concedes a free kick for a foul on Ryan Gauld. Willo Flood has a direct shot on goal from the free kick.

60:26

Brian McLean takes a shot. Shaun Hutchinson gets a block in.

58:43

Henrik Ojamaa concedes a free kick for a foul on Ryan Gauld. Direct free kick taken by Barry Douglas.

58:27

Handball by Gary Mackay-Steven. Tom Hateley takes the free kick.

57:37

Nicky Law takes a shot. Save by Radoslaw Cierzniak.

57:06

Jon Daly has a headed effort at goal from deep inside the area missing to the left of the target.

55:50

The referee blows for offside against Gary Mackay-Steven. Indirect free kick taken by Darren Randolph.

54:51

Chris Humphrey provided the assist for the goal.

54:51 Goal scored

Goal! - Michael Higdon - Dundee U 0 - 3 Motherwell Michael Higdon fires in a goal from just inside the area to the bottom left corner of the goal. Dundee Utd 0-3 Motherwell.

53:58

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

51:53

John Rankin has an effort at goal from outside the area which goes wide right of the goal.

51:06

Corner taken left-footed by Barry Douglas to the near post, Simon Ramsden manages to make a clearance.

50:08

Chris Humphrey challenges Barry Douglas unfairly and gives away a free kick. Radoslaw Cierzniak restarts play with the free kick.

47:37

Outswinging corner taken by Nicky Law, Jon Daly manages to make a clearance.

45:01

The second half begins.

45:00 +0:06 Half time

Half Time It is the end of the first-half.

43:07

Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Barry Douglas played to the near post.

40:57

Foul by Henrik Ojamaa on Barry Douglas, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Barry Douglas.

39:45

Gary Mackay-Steven takes a shot. Save by Darren Randolph.

39:03

James McFadden is caught offside. Radoslaw Cierzniak takes the indirect free kick.

35:03

John Rankin has a shot on goal from outside the area which misses left.

29:33

Ryan Gauld takes a shot. Darren Randolph makes a comfortable save.

27:08

Unfair challenge on Willo Flood by Stevie Hammell results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by John Souttar.

26:09

Stuart Armstrong produces a right-footed shot from just outside the box that goes wide left of the goal.

25:47

Foul by James McFadden on Willo Flood, free kick awarded. Willo Flood takes the free kick.

25:32

Gary Mackay-Steven fouled by Tom Hateley, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Gary Mackay-Steven.

22:07

Free kick awarded for a foul by Jon Daly on Darren Randolph. Direct free kick taken by Darren Randolph.

19:50

Chris Humphrey challenges Barry Douglas unfairly and gives away a free kick. Radoslaw Cierzniak takes the free kick.

18:47

Jon Daly takes a shot. Save made by Darren Randolph.

17:51

Chris Humphrey takes a shot. Blocked by Sean Dillon.

16:39

The assistant referee signals for offside against Michael Higdon. Radoslaw Cierzniak takes the indirect free kick.

14:43

Foul by Sean Dillon on Henrik Ojamaa, free kick awarded. James McFadden delivers the ball from the free kick left-footed from right wing, Radoslaw Cierzniak makes a save.

11:06

Effort from the edge of the box by James McFadden goes wide of the left-hand post.

9:38

Foul by Keith Lasley on Willo Flood, free kick awarded. Brian McLean takes the direct free kick.

7:20

The assist for the goal came from Michael Higdon.

7:20 Goal scored

Goal! - Henrik Ojamaa - Dundee U 0 - 2 Motherwell Henrik Ojamaa scores a goal from inside the penalty area to the bottom left corner of the goal. Dundee Utd 0-2 Motherwell.

5:38

Nicky Law takes the inswinging corner, Shot on goal by Keith Lasley from just inside the area goes over the target.

5:25

Chris Humphrey takes a shot. Save by Radoslaw Cierzniak.

4:14

Effort on goal by Ryan Gauld from just inside the penalty box goes harmlessly over the target.

2:00

James McFadden provided the assist for the goal.

2:00 Goal scored

Goal! - Michael Higdon - Dundee U 0 - 1 Motherwell Michael Higdon fires in a goal from long range to the top right corner of the goal. Dundee Utd 0-1 Motherwell.

0:00

The match begins.

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