Match ends, Partick Thistle 0, Motherwell 1.
Partick Thistle 0-1 Motherwell
Partick Thistle remain two points above bottom side Ross County in the Scottish Premiership after losing to Motherwell.
Kris Doolan crosses provided chances for Conor Sammon and Ryan Edwards with Sammon nodding just wide and Edwards drawing a save from Trevor Carson.
Ryan Bowman headed Well ahead from David Turnbull's free-kick.
Christie Elliott stung the palms of Carson as Thistle pressed and their best hope of survival now looks to be in the Premiership play-off final.
The side finishing bottom will go down automatically while the second bottom side will face either Livingston or Dundee United in that play-off for a place in next season's top flight.
And with Hamilton Academical three points clear of Partick Thistle and 13 goals better off than the Jags, Alan Archibald's side are unlikely to catch Accies.
Thistle visit Dundee in Saturday's bottom six finale, while County travel to take on St Johnstone and Hamilton visit Motherwell.
The Jags had been unbeaten in three before Well's visit as they searched for what would have been a vital win, at least in avoiding automatic relegation.
They started brightly with Doolan, so often the finisher, turning provider with two excellent crosses.
The first fell to Sammon, who flashed a header wide from close range.
Doolan then tried from the other wing and found Edwards powering into the penalty area but his header was straight at Carson, who cleared with his legs. Anywhere to either side of the goalkeeper and it was surely a crucial opener.
Motherwell, with Scottish Cup final places at stake and chasing a seventh-placed finish in the league, grew into the contest and forced a series of corners.
They were restricted in terms of chances with Bowman seeing his shot on the turn sail well wide. He would make his mark later.
With the onus on Thistle to go forward, Martin Woods tested Carson from distance with the keeper fortunate to see Charles Dunne racing back to deny Doolan a tap-in.
Sammon used his powerful frame to outmuscle Cedric Kipre, laid the ball to Chris Erskine but the angle eventually beat him and Carson parried comfortably.
As news filtered through early in the second half that Ross County were trailing at Dundee, the home crowd came to life sensing a goal would see them at least avoid relegation on Saturday.
Sammon came so close to capitalising when he gathered on the edge of the box and hit a low left-foot effort but it crept agonisingly past the upright.
And the hosts' worst nightmare was realised when Motherwell earned a free-kick just outside the area.
It was the perfect delivery for Bowman, who thundered a header past Tomas Cerny to extend the home crowd's misery.
Thistle battled to try and find a route back but seemed deflated by the situation they faced.
Sammon fired narrowly over. Substitute Miles Storey then shot across goal beyond the far post. It was not to be.
It was exactly the response Stephen Robinson required after his sides' 5-1 loss to St Johnstone last weekend, building some momentum ahead of the Hampden meeting with Celtic on 19 May.
At full-time the realisation dawned that Thistle's relegation fight will go to the wire.
Partick Thistle manager Alan Archibald: "That much probably summed up our season to be honest with you in terms of not taking our chances.
"We started brightly, imposed ourselves on Motherwell and created a couple of really good opportunities that we didn't take then the Achilles heel they scored with a set play.
"The crowd responded to the team starting so well. Disappointed to not go and get that goal we can go and build on.
"Whether it's a foul or not [for the goal] it's a silly goal to give away against one of the biggest and best teams in the league at attacking set plays.
"We just need to make sure we're ready and recover. The focus is going to Dens and trying to get the victory. The league doesn't lie. You are where you are. We need to go and try and get the victory. If you go into any game and go and try and protect, it's very, very dangerous.
"Performance levels have been decent over the last four games. We need to look for that again but need to take our chances."
Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson: "I think that's us equalled the club's record clean sheets [over the course of a season] and you saw the desire from the players to make sure we didn't concede a goal.
"That's what our season has been built on and I'm very proud of them tonight.
"Thistle are fighting for their lives. Thistle are a decent side. Were delighted with the result.
"Every player in the second half gave me something to think about [heading into the cup final]. There's a lot of good performances there."
- 10ErskineSubstituted forStoreyat 69'minutes
- 13BartonSubstituted forSpittalat 81'minutes
- 19EdwardsBooked at 90mins
- 9DoolanSubstituted forLawlessat 69'minutes
- 31TurnbullSubstituted forCiftciat 82'minutes
- 22CampbellBooked at 67mins
- 3HendrieSubstituted forBigirimanaat 45'minutes
- 9MainSubstituted forFrearat 63'minutes
- 12BowmanBooked at 75mins
- Bobby Madden
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Partick Thistle 0, Motherwell 1.
Corner, Partick Thistle. Conceded by Tom Aldred.
Attempt saved. Blair Spittal (Partick Thistle) header from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner.
Foul by Tom Aldred (Motherwell).
Steven Lawless (Partick Thistle) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Ryan Edwards (Partick Thistle) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Blair Spittal (Partick Thistle).
Nadir Ciftci (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, Motherwell. Nadir Ciftci replaces David Turnbull.
Substitution, Partick Thistle. Blair Spittal replaces Adam Barton.
Attempt missed. Miles Storey (Partick Thistle) left footed shot from the left side of the box is close, but misses to the right.
Attempt missed. Conor Sammon (Partick Thistle) right footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high.
Ryan Edwards (Partick Thistle) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Gael Bigirimana (Motherwell).
Ryan Bowman (Motherwell) is shown the yellow card.
Martin Woods (Partick Thistle) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Allan Campbell (Motherwell).
Attempt missed. Miles Storey (Partick Thistle) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.
Attempt saved. Allan Campbell (Motherwell) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.
Substitution, Partick Thistle. Miles Storey replaces Chris Erskine.
Substitution, Partick Thistle. Steven Lawless replaces Kris Doolan.
Attempt saved. Baily Cargill (Partick Thistle) header from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner.
Allan Campbell (Motherwell) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Allan Campbell (Motherwell).
Christie Elliott (Partick Thistle) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Corner, Partick Thistle. Conceded by Ryan Bowman.
Corner, Partick Thistle. Conceded by Trevor Carson.
Attempt saved. Christie Elliott (Partick Thistle) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top right corner.
Substitution, Motherwell. Elliott Frear replaces Curtis Main.
Attempt missed. Curtis Main (Motherwell) right footed shot from the right side of the box is just a bit too high.
Goal! Partick Thistle 0, Motherwell 1. Ryan Bowman (Motherwell) header from very close range to the centre of the goal. Assisted by David Turnbull with a cross following a set piece situation.
Foul by Baily Cargill (Partick Thistle).
Chris Cadden (Motherwell) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Ryan Edwards (Partick Thistle) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Allan Campbell (Motherwell).
Foul by Carl McHugh (Motherwell).
Chris Erskine (Partick Thistle) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Attempt missed. Conor Sammon (Partick Thistle) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right.
Attempt missed. Gael Bigirimana (Motherwell) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left.