James McFadden scored one and created three as Motherwell convincingly beat Hearts to boost their Europa League hopes.

Iain Vigurs squeezed between three defenders to divert the former Scotland man's pass into the net, before Lionel Ainsworth volleyed in the second.

John Sutton added a third after half-time, but Hearts responded instantly through a Callum Paterson header.

However, McFadden cemented the three points with a header into the corner.

With Inverness losing at Celtic Park, the win extends the Steelmen's lead in third place to six points, and is also the third time in four home games Stuart McCall's men have hit four goals.

Gary Locke's side started the better of the two teams but it was Motherwell who forced the first save of the game.

Ainsworth's volley looked harmless until it ricocheted off Scott Robinson, almost catching out Jamie MacDonald before the keeper managed to readjust and tip over.

The Hearts defence were throwing themselves in the way of shots, but it was making things tricky for MacDonald and he had to be alert again to divert Sutton's deflected effort.

Motherwell's pressure eventually paid dividends. Vigurs and McFadden exchanged passes and the former Ross County man was able to stroll through the middle and roll the ball into the net.

Hearts knew they had to score next. Ryan Stevenson's free-kick whistled just wide, then on-loan West Ham striker Paul McCallum headed onto the roof of the net.

However, they could do little to stop Motherwell grabbing a second. McFadden managed to keep the ball in play and hook a high ball over to Ainsworth, who cracked an unsaveable volley flying past MacDonald.

As the heads went down for the visitors Motherwell could have had a third, McFadden putting a free header at the back post over the bar.

The hosts continued their dominance into the second-half, with Vigurs, Keith Lasley and Jack Leitch all firing in early efforts.

But Hearts were inches away from pulling one back when Dale Carrick raced up the left wing, cut inside, and rattled the crossbar with a fine strike.

Sutton was unlucky when Keith Lasley's cross was headed into his path yards from goal, the ball hitting the striker's thigh and bouncing over.

However, it was not long before Sutton did grab his 14th goal of the season.

McFadden again was the instigator and when he was bundled over at the edge of the box, Sutton latched on to the loose ball and poked it over the line.

Hearts' response was instant. Kevin McHattie's corner found Paterson, who rose highest in the box to head beyond Hollis.

Any hopes of a dramatic comeback though were extinguished when McFadden got his own name on the score-sheet, nodding a cross from Vigurs into the far corner.

Lineup, Bookings (4) & Substitutions (6)

Motherwell

  • 01 Hollis
  • 02 Reid
  • 17 Francis-Angol (Murray - 34' )
  • 14 Lasley (Carswell - 80' )
  • 05 Hutchinson Booked
  • 06 McManus
  • 25 Ainsworth (Cadden - 83' )
  • 26 Leitch
  • 07 McFadden
  • 09 Sutton
  • 11 Vigurs

Substitutes

  • 12 Nielsen
  • 18 Carswell
  • 23 Murray
  • 29 Shirkie
  • 30 Thomas
  • 34 Cadden

Heart of Midlothian

  • 01 MacDonald
  • 05 McGowan Booked
  • 03 McHattie
  • 08 Robinson (King - 65' )
  • 16 McKay (Carrick - 45' )
  • 04 Wilson Booked
  • 07 Stevenson
  • 02 Hamill
  • 12 Paterson Booked
  • 09 McCallum (Holt - 66' )
  • 28 Nicholson

Substitutes

  • 13 Ridgers
  • 15 Holt
  • 18 Carrick
  • 19 King
  • 29 Oliver
  • 30 McGhee
  • 31 Beith
Ref: John Beaton
Att: 4,914

Match Stats

Shots

21 8

On target

9 1

Corners

6 6

Fouls

17 14

Live Text Commentary

Full time

Full Time Match ends, Motherwell 4, Hearts 1.

90:00 +1:06 Full time

Full Time Second Half ends, Motherwell 4, Hearts 1.

90:00 +0:22

Delay in match Callum Paterson (Hearts) because of an injury.

88:45

Foul by Stephen McManus (Motherwell).

88:45

Ryan Stevenson (Hearts) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

88:34

Attempt missed. Shaun Hutchinson (Motherwell) header from the centre of the box misses to the right.

87:51

James McFadden (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

87:51

Foul by Danny Wilson (Hearts).

86:46

Attempt missed. Callum Paterson (Hearts) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.

84:08

Foul by Stuart Carswell (Motherwell).

84:08

Jason Holt (Hearts) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

82:30 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Motherwell. Christopher Cadden replaces Lionel Ainsworth.

80:35

Foul by Shaun Hutchinson (Motherwell).

80:35

Ryan Stevenson (Hearts) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

79:54

Attempt missed. Iain Vigurs (Motherwell) right footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high from a direct free kick.

79:23 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Motherwell. Stuart Carswell replaces Keith Lasley.

78:58 Booking

Booking Dylan McGowan (Hearts) is shown the yellow card.

78:48

Shaun Hutchinson (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

78:48

Foul by Dylan McGowan (Hearts).

77:50

Foul by Keith Lasley (Motherwell).

77:50

Jason Holt (Hearts) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

76:28

Stephen McManus (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

76:28

Foul by Ryan Stevenson (Hearts).

76:16

Attempt missed. Jack Leitch (Motherwell) left footed shot from the left side of the box is too high.

75:30 Booking

Booking Callum Paterson (Hearts) is shown the yellow card.

75:24

Iain Vigurs (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

75:24

Foul by Callum Paterson (Hearts).

74:34

Foul by Keith Lasley (Motherwell).

74:34

Jamie Hamill (Hearts) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

73:50 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Motherwell 4, Hearts 1. James McFadden (Motherwell) header from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Iain Vigurs with a cross.

73:18

John Sutton (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

73:18

Foul by Danny Wilson (Hearts).

72:35

Craig Reid (Motherwell) wins a free kick on the left wing.

72:35

Foul by Dale Carrick (Hearts).

71:29

Corner, Hearts. Conceded by Shaun Hutchinson.

71:11

Corner, Hearts. Conceded by Craig Reid.

71:01

Attempt blocked. Jamie Hamill (Hearts) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

69:30

Attempt saved. Iain Vigurs (Motherwell) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

68:45 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Motherwell 3, Hearts 1. Callum Paterson (Hearts) header from very close range to the high centre of the goal. Assisted by Kevin McHattie with a cross.

68:05

Corner, Hearts. Conceded by Euan Murray.

67:28

Foul by Jack Leitch (Motherwell).

67:28

Sam Nicholson (Hearts) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

66:48

Attempt missed. James McFadden (Motherwell) left footed shot from outside the box is too high from a direct free kick.

66:12

Lionel Ainsworth (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

66:12

Foul by Sam Nicholson (Hearts).

65:22 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Hearts. Jason Holt replaces Paul McCallum.

64:57 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Hearts. Billy King replaces Scott Robinson.

64:15 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Motherwell 3, Hearts 0. John Sutton (Motherwell) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by James McFadden.

62:26

Iain Vigurs (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

62:26

Foul by Ryan Stevenson (Hearts).

62:13

Attempt blocked. Lionel Ainsworth (Motherwell) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

62:03

Attempt saved. Jack Leitch (Motherwell) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

60:29

Attempt missed. Paul McCallum (Hearts) header from the centre of the box misses to the right.

60:05

Foul by Jack Leitch (Motherwell).

60:05

Callum Paterson (Hearts) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

59:03

Attempt missed. John Sutton (Motherwell) with an attempt from very close range is just a bit too high.

57:25 Booking

Booking Shaun Hutchinson (Motherwell) is shown the yellow card.

57:21

Foul by Shaun Hutchinson (Motherwell).

57:21

Sam Nicholson (Hearts) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

55:13

Attempt saved. Jack Leitch (Motherwell) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

54:50

Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Dylan McGowan.

53:10

Foul by Iain Vigurs (Motherwell).

53:10

Paul McCallum (Hearts) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

52:46

Attempt missed. Keith Lasley (Motherwell) right footed shot from the right side of the box is just a bit too high.

49:38

Sam Nicholson (Hearts) hits the bar with a right footed shot from the left side of the box.

47:59

Attempt missed. Iain Vigurs (Motherwell) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left.

46:59

Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Dylan McGowan.

45:00

Second Half begins Motherwell 2, Hearts 0.

45:00 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Hearts. Dale Carrick replaces Brad McKay.

45:00 +1:03 Half time

Half Time First Half ends, Motherwell 2, Hearts 0.

45:00 +0:13

Craig Reid (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

45:00 +0:13

Foul by Sam Nicholson (Hearts).

42:45

Shaun Hutchinson (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

42:45

Foul by Ryan Stevenson (Hearts).

42:13

Attempt missed. James McFadden (Motherwell) header from the left side of the box is close, but misses to the left.

40:17

Foul by Shaun Hutchinson (Motherwell).

40:17

Paul McCallum (Hearts) wins a free kick on the left wing.

40:05

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

40:04

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

39:49

Delay in match James McFadden (Motherwell) because of an injury.

39:09

Attempt missed. Shaun Hutchinson (Motherwell) with an attempt from the centre of the box misses to the left.

38:30 Booking

Booking Danny Wilson (Hearts) is shown the yellow card.

38:26

James McFadden (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

38:26

Foul by Danny Wilson (Hearts).

37:32

Foul by Euan Murray (Motherwell).

37:32

Callum Paterson (Hearts) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

36:38 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Motherwell 2, Hearts 0. Lionel Ainsworth (Motherwell) right footed shot from the right side of the box to the top right corner. Assisted by James McFadden.

34:43

Corner, Hearts. Conceded by Jack Leitch.

33:39 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Motherwell. Euan Murray replaces Zaine Francis-Angol because of an injury.

33:29

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

33:28

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

33:15

Delay in match Zaine Francis-Angol (Motherwell) because of an injury.

32:37

Corner, Hearts. Conceded by Zaine Francis-Angol.

30:58

Attempt missed. Brad McKay (Hearts) header from the centre of the box is just a bit too high.

29:53

Foul by Keith Lasley (Motherwell).

29:53

Sam Nicholson (Hearts) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

28:18

Attempt missed. Ryan Stevenson (Hearts) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left from a direct free kick.

27:37

Foul by Stephen McManus (Motherwell).

27:37

Callum Paterson (Hearts) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

26:30

Keith Lasley (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

26:30

Foul by Scott Robinson (Hearts).

24:07

Foul by Shaun Hutchinson (Motherwell).

24:07

Ryan Stevenson (Hearts) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

22:07

Attempt missed. Lionel Ainsworth (Motherwell) right footed shot from the right side of the box is close, but misses to the right.

20:03

Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Brad McKay.

19:51

Attempt blocked. Jack Leitch (Motherwell) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

17:47 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Motherwell 1, Hearts 0. Iain Vigurs (Motherwell) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by James McFadden.

16:09

Hand ball by Craig Reid (Motherwell).

14:02

Attempt saved. John Sutton (Motherwell) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

13:38

Foul by Ryan Stevenson (Hearts).

13:38

Iain Vigurs (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

12:12

Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Callum Paterson.

11:46

Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Kevin McHattie.

9:42

Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Jamie MacDonald.

9:32

Attempt saved. Lionel Ainsworth (Motherwell) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

7:49

Paul McCallum (Hearts) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

7:49

Foul by Keith Lasley (Motherwell).

6:09

Attempt missed. Brad McKay (Hearts) header from the centre of the box misses to the right.

5:31

Corner, Hearts. Conceded by Stephen McManus.

5:06

Paul McCallum (Hearts) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

5:06

Foul by Shaun Hutchinson (Motherwell).

3:35

Foul by Paul McCallum (Hearts).

3:35

Shaun Hutchinson (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

0:00

First Half begins.

0:00

Lineups are announced and players are warming up.

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