Motherwell 4-3 Partick Thistle

Late headers from John Sutton and Stephen McManus earned a thrilling win for Motherwell against a Kallum Higginbotham-inspired Partick Thistle.

Higginbotham set up Chris Erskine for the opening goal and later converted a penalty and shot the visitors ahead with a sublime finish.

Keith Lasley levelled for 'Well before the break and Lionel Ainsworth cracked the home side into a 2-1 lead.

And, having slipped behind again, the home side rallied in a rousing finale.

Entering the 85th minute Motherwell were staring at defeat and their first dropped points against a team from the bottom half of the Premiership.

It was far from their best performance but Sutton and McManus embodied the sheer determination running through Stuart McCall's side, who remain within one point of second place, with a game in hand over Aberdeen.

Thistle, who stay in the relegation play-off spot, must have thought they were on course for a fifth league win of the season after Higginbotham had dragged them in front almost single-handedly but the visitors now find the gap to bottom team Hearts reduced to 16 points.

The Fir Park pitch was a bit worse for wear in patches after the heavy overnight rain that led to a lunchtime pitch inspection but Motherwell were moving the ball around confidently, if a little slowly, as Iain Vigurs swiped an early shot too high.

Zaine Francis-Angol was prominent throughout and good work from the left-back set up a shooting chance for James McFadden, which was blocked, with Lasley's deflected strike on the follow-up rippling against the side-netting.

The last time these teams met, Motherwell tore Thistle apart with a series of swift counter-attacks to score five, aided and abetted by some woeful defending.

Alan Archibald's men were understandably more cautious in the first half, packing men behind the ball.

It was therefore something of a surprise when the Jags went ahead thanks to a bustling run from Higginbotham.

The ball broke kindly for Erskine to tuck away despite keeper Gunnar Nielsen getting hands on the shot.

Shortly after, another enterprising break from Higginbotham teed up Prince Buaben only for Shaun Hutchinson to make a vital block.

Stung from their previous lethargy, Motherwell were level just before the interval when a Lasley strike looped off Higginbotham and spun into the far corner.

The Steelmen were much brighter in the opening minutes of the second half and the home fans were soon celebrating another goal as Ainsworth slammed in a precise shot after good work from McFadden.

Higginbotham (far right) led Thistle's second-half revival but ultimately ended on the losing side

There were loud Thistle protests when an Aaron Taylor-Sinclair shot appeared to strike the arm of Stevie Hammell and a Buaben effort nearly squirmed under Nielsen at the home keeper's near post.

The visitors kept coming and Ainsworth's afternoon took a turn for the worse when he upended Taylor-Sinclair, with Higginbotham hammering the resultant spot-kick down the middle against his former club.

Higginbotham was suddenly unstoppable and drew a fine low save from Nielsen before driving into the box to set up Lyle Taylor, who was crowded out after taking an unnecessary touch.

The midfielder then decided to go it alone and finished off another direct run by planting a wonderful shot into the far corner of the net.

McFadden's deflected shot on the turn squeezed wide and Hutchinson's volley was tipped over by Paul Gallacher as Motherwell responded to going behind.

The late drama began in earnest when Sutton powered in a header from Ainsworth's delivery.

And three of the Fir Park stands erupted in joy as defender McManus joined the cavalry going forward and was in the right place to nod in a deep cross from Hammell.

As It Stood

TeamPWDLGDPts
1Celtic2421304566
2Aberdeen2515371448
3Motherwell241527547
4Dundee Utd2510871338
5Inverness CT231157838
6St Johnstone23959532
7Hibernian258710-531
8Kilmarnock267514-1226
9St Mirren266614-1824
10Ross County256415-1522
11Partick Thistle2641012-1822
12Hearts265615-226
View full Scottish Premiership table

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