A LATE Johnny Russell goal ended Motherwell’s brief recovery as Dundee United claimed a narrow victory at Fir Park.
With the original fixture having been called off due to a power cut, the players took to the pitch in driving rain for take two.
Jamie Murphy had scored after just 38 seconds against St Johnstone the previous weekend and tried his luck even earlier against United, but Radoslaw Cierzniak got down to hold his long-range drive.
Murphy, back on the wing after dazzling in a more central role in Perth, had an even better chance after being set up by Higdon, with Cierzniak producing a brilliant one-handed stop.
At the other end Darren Randolph matched the gauntlet thrown down by his opposite number with a brilliant double save as he dived to his right to stop Gavin Gunning’s powerful 25-yard free kick before getting up to block Stuart Armstrong’s follow-up.
Just after the break Henrik Ojamaa came within inches of grabbing his first goal of the season, running at the defence and unleashing a 20-yard strike that smacked off the underside of the bar and bounced to safety.
The woodwork came to United’s rescue again as Keith Lasley robbed Willo Flood and played in Ojamaa who was forced wide, and his angled drive came off the far post.
’Well claimed for a penalty when Keith Watson barged Murphy into the advertising hoardings behind the goal, but referee Alan Muir ruled only a goal kick.
United came into the game with an Armstong shot taking a deflection to spin just wide. Then from a Flood corner Russell’s shot was spilled by Randolph, but Lasley stopped it going in.
Higdon passed up a great chance by scuffing his shot after Chris Humphrey broke from his own box and six minutes from time the hosts were made to pay as RUSSELL sent a looping header into the net from Watson’s cross.
Motherwell: Randolph, Hateley, Ramsden, Cummins, Hammell, Humphrey (Daley 88), Law, Lasley, Ojamaa (McHugh 79), Higdon. Subs not used: Hollis, Carswell, Francis-Angol, Hetherington, Murray.
Dundee United: Cierzniak, Dillon, McLean, Watson, Gunning, Flood, Rankin (Skacel 79), Ryan (Mackay-Steven 71), Armstrong, Russell (Millar 86), Daly. Subs not used: Banks, Gardyne, Dow, Gauld.
Referee: A Muir.