Motherwell will have to wait another week to confirm second place in the SPL after defeat at Inverness.
The home side raced into a three goal lead, and although ’Well did manage to peg them back the game turned on Henrik Ojamaa’s sending off as Billy McKay claimed a hat-trick to seal victory.
The visitors knew avoiding defeat would be enough to go one better than last season and finish runners-up behind league champions Celtic.
However, they were almost immediately on the back foot when Simon Ramsden fouled Andrew Shinnie at the edge of the are on three minutes.
Shinnie’s free-kick hit the ball, but broke for Aaron Doran to find Josh Meekings at the back post and his ball across was turned in by McKAY.
Former Fir Park favourite Richie Foran then hit the outside of the post before ANDREW SHINNIE made it 2-0 on 25 minutes as he found the corner of the net after being set up by McKay.
Those two combined again two minuets later to make it 3-0.
This time the roles were reversed as Andrew Shinnie’s low cross from the right was poked him by McKAY at the near post.
’Well had previously scored 10 goals against Inverness this term so know the route to Antonio Reguero’s goal and pulled one back on 36 minutes.
Tom Hateley’s cross was headed down by Michael Higdon and Ojamaa passed to JAMES McFADDEN who scored from the edge of the box.
The goal lifted ’Well and four minutes after the break they struck again.
Chris Hogg hauled down Ojamaa in the box and HIGDON stepped up for goal 27 of the season by sending Reguero the wrong way.
Seconds later though Ojamaa would be booked for diving under another Hogg challenge, which would spell trouble for him later, and before that only a good save by Reguero prevented the Estonian equalising.
Inverness had the chance to increase their lead on 62 minutes after Shaun Hutchinson barged Nick Ross in the box, but McKay fluffed the chance of a hat-trick as his poorly hit penalty was saved by Darren Randolph.
Two minutes later they were made to pay as Ojamaa nipped the ball through to McFADDEN and he found the net with the aid of the far post.
Only the combination of Hutchinson and Randolph prevented McKay from bursting clear to but the hosts ahead again and on 72 minutes Ojamaa blotted an otherwise fine afternoon with a lunge on Shinnie that saw his pick up a second yellow.
A point would have been enough for ’Well but six minutes from time Randolph could only parry Meekings shot and McKAY was on hand to pop the rebound into the net and complete his treble.
Inverness CT: Reguero, G Shinnie, Hogg, McKay, Draper, Foran, A Shinnie (Tudur-Jones 89), Ross, Doran, Meekings, Devine, Subs not used: Mathieson, Sutherland, Polworth, Pepper, Taylor.
Motherwell: Randolph, Hammell, Law, Hutchinson, Hateley, Humphrey (Kerr 82), Ojamaa, Higdon, Lasley, Ramsden (McHugh 86), McFadden. Subs not used: Hollis, Higginbotham, Carswell, Francis-Angol, Cummins.
Referee: Willie Collum.