A well below par Motherwell team suffered their joint heaviest defeat of the season in a 5-1 thumping by St Johnstone on Saturday, writes Craig Goldthorp.
Despite the nightmare day - which saw Saints striker Steven MacLean scored a hat-trick - seventh placed Motherwell remain above the Perth team on goal difference and still on course to finish top of the Scottish Premiership's bottom six with two league matches left this season.
The immaculate Fir Park pitch was like a bowling green and Motherwell - without rested duo Cedric Kipre and Richard Tait - came close on five minutes when Curtis Main's fizzed left footed cross from the left was stopped on the line by keeper Zander Clark.
Motherwell's Liam Grimshaw then produced a brilliant 15th minute through ball to Main, whose effort was blocked by Saints defender Jason Kerr.
The busy Main had a weak shot saved and a left footed effort go well over as the hosts enjoyed the majority of scoring chances.
But it was the Perth visitors who broke the deadlock on the half hour when Hearts bound MacLean (35) headed in Richard Foster's cross from the right.
Nadir Ciftci, Main and Elliott Frear then combined well at the other end before the recalled English winger's left footed effort went well over.
St Johnstone were far more successful at the other end on 35 minutes when a long free-kick into the box saw Murray Davidson's header parried by Carson to defender Steven Anderson who lashed the ball in to put them two up.
Barely another five minutes had elapsed when it became 3-0, MacLean sliding in to net his second after fine build-up play on the left by George Williams and Matty Willock.
A nightmare few minutes for the Steelmen then nearly got worse when the usually dependable Charles Dunne hesitated when dealing with a long ball into the Motherwell box and MacLean nipped in for a shot which Carson blocked.
Trailing by three goals at the interval, things almost got even worse for 'Well just a minute into the second period when Foster's cross to the back stick was met powerfully by David Wotherspoon whose left footer went just wide.
Motherwell gaffer Stephen Robinson reacted to his side's disastrous first half by hooking Carl McHugh and Grimshaw at half-time and replacing them with Ryan Bowman and Gael Bigirimana.
Bigirimana soon struck a 35-yard free-kick which was saved unconvincingly by Clark before the Steelmen missed a great chance when Main's flick from a left wing cross set up Ciftci for a close range effort which Clark somehow kept out.
But the game was ended as a contest on 55 minutes when Willock's short free-kick to Wotherspoon - in acres of space - saw the former Hibs man unleash a cross shot from outside the box that was turned in by MacLean for his hat-trick.
The Steelmen kept plugging away and pulled a goal back on 77 minutes when Bigirimana headed home from close range after Bowman's left foot shot had rebounded off the left post after a Cadden pass.
But the three goal deficit didn't last long as it became 5-1 when Foster's brilliant cross to the back post was headed in by sub David McMillan.
And that was that on a tough day for Motherwell, whose fans will be hoping can produce a much better display in the William Hill Scottish Cup final against Celtic at Hampden in just a fortnight's time.
More immediately, Motherwell end their league campaign with two games this week, at Partick Thistle on Tuesday before a home encounter against Hamilton Accies next Saturday.
Motherwell: Carson, Grimshaw (McHugh 45), Cadden, McHugh (Bowman 45), Main, Frear (Petravicius 66), Dunne, Aldred, Campbell, Çiftçi, Maguire.
Referee: Gavin Duncan