Motherwell slipped into the relegation play-off spot after Saturday’s hugely disappointing 2-0 home Scottish Premiership loss to Kilmarnock.
Killie bossed the game throughout and went above their hosts in the table thanks to second half goals by Greg Kiltie and Craig Slater.
The visitors showed their intent from early on and almost went ahead after eight minutes when Kiltie’s shot from a Josh Magennis lay-off was deflected just wide.
A fine piece of skill by Josh Law on the right after 11 minutes released Lionel Ainsworth. But the winger failed to deliver any end product in a first half in which he looked totally devoid of confidence and was hooked for top scorer Louis Moult at half-time.
’Well keeper Connor Ripley was one of the few to earn pass marks for the home side and he made a brilliant save from Tope Obadeyi after the out of sorts Morgaro Gomis had been dispossessed.
Slater’s 19th minute free-kick was superby tipped over by Ripley, before the on loan Middlesbrough ace saved another setpiece from Steven Smith.
At the other end, ’Well didn’t muster any efforts of note on Jamie MacDonald’s goal and left the pitch at half-time to several boos from a disgruntled home support.
Moult’s introduction seemed to lift ’Well but his early second half header was straight at MacDonald.
Stephen McManus then headed over from a Josh Law free-kick before ’Well won another setpiece on the edge of the box which saw Law shoot powerfully wide.
But Killie went ahead on 55 minutes when Kiltie easily netted a cross from the left.
It was 2-0 five minutes later when Slater – under minimal pressure – waltzed through to shoot home with the home defence missing.
That was the cue for several ’Well fans to leave the ground on a freezing day which saw their favourites produce their worst performance of the season.
Young winger Dom Thomas provided a bit of hope for the Steelmen with some fine runs and crosses after coming on as a sub for Gomis.
Marvin Johnson was doing likewise on the other wing but the truth was that too many of their colleagues had an off day.
To sum up Motherwell’s misery, Moult somehow headed against the bar from close range after Thomas’s fine run and cross on the right in the final minute.
In front of virtually deserted home stands, there was still time for Moult to head a Scott McDonald cross wide.