Jon Daly scored a hat-trick as Dundee United beat Motherwell to keep up the pressure on Hearts for third place.
After surviving heavy pressure Motherwell capitulated on 36 minutes as Daly's header snuck inside the post.
On 43 minutes Daly smashed in the second after a good passing move, and he made it 3-0 with a fine chest and volley four minutes after the restart.
Motherwell struggled to threaten and Keith Watson rounded off the scoring with a few minutes to play.
The win for United, coupled with Hearts' 4-0 defeat by Rangers earlier on Saturday, moved the Tannadice club to within five points of third spot with two games to play.
Motherwell have now conceded nine goals in their last two games.
The Fir Park side appeared to have weathered the United storm before they lost a goal from a set-piece with Darren Randolph making a rare error.
Paul Dixon flighted the ball into the box after Ross Forbes had been booked for a foul on Morgaro Gomis in midfield.
Daly aimed a header at goal, which Randolph should have held easily, but the Englishman allowed the ball to squeeze in between himself and his post.
Two minutes before the break Daly grabbed his and United's second.
Garry Kenneth's pass found the Irishman in space just inside the box, and he turned away from Shaun Hutchinson before firing into the bottom corner.
Hutchinson and central defensive partner Gavin Gunning became involved in a heated discussion as Daly was afforded plenty of room to pick his spot.
Barely had the second period got under way than Daly completed his hat-trick.
Arguably Gunning was at fault in the 49th minute as he misjudged Dixon's cross and saw it float over his head straight to Daly.
The United forward chested the ball down and fired a volley into the corner from 12 yards.
And he had further opportunities to add to his tally - first chipping over from 25 yards, then heading against the outside of the post from a tight angle.
United goalkeeper Dusan Pernis made his first save just after the hour mark, holding Chris Humphrey's low drive at the second attempt following a mazy run.
But Motherwell failed to threaten further, and United full-back Watson rounded off a fine afternoon for the Tayside outfit, claiming the fourth with a miscued shot which Andis Shala was initially given credit for.
Live text and stats
Saturday, 7 May 2011
08 Robertson (Buaben 63)
09 Daly (Shala 80)
27 Russell (Robertson 63)
04 Ross (Craigan 61)
07 Humphrey (Jones 78)
18 Forbes yellow card (Smith 52)
24 Jeffers yellow card
Ref: WinterAtt: 5,951
Attempts on target
Attempts off target
90:00+2:01 The final whistle is blown by the referee.
90:00+0:09 Steve Jones fouled by David Goodwillie, the ref awards a free kick. Darren Randolph takes the direct free kick.
87:33 Assist on the goal came from Paul Dixon.
87:33 GOAL - Keith Watson:Dundee Utd 4 - 0 Motherwell Keith Watson grabs a goal from inside the penalty box to the bottom right corner of the goal. Dundee Utd 4-0 Motherwell.
86:56 Inswinging corner taken by Paul Dixon from the right by-line.
86:38 David Goodwillie takes a shot. Save by Darren Randolph.
84:46 Unfair challenge on Paul Dixon by Francis Jeffers results in a free kick. Dusan Pernis takes the free kick.
81:52 Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Craig Conway, clearance made by Gavin Gunning. Corner taken by Craig Conway from
the right by-line, Stephen Craigan manages to make a clearance.
80:27 Scott Severin fouled by Francis Jeffers, the ref awards a free kick. Dusan Pernis takes the direct free kick.
80:08 Booking Francis Jeffers is cautioned by the ref for unsporting behaviour.
79:22 Substitution Andis Shala on for Jon Daly.
Correction - 77:25 Francis Jeffers concedes a free kick for a foul on Garry Kenneth. Free kick taken by Dusan Pernis.
Correction - 77:25 Substitution Chris Humphrey leaves the field to be replaced by Steve Jones.
77:25 Unfair challenge on Garry Kenneth by Francis Jeffers results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Dusan Pernis.
77:25 Substitution Steve Jones joins the action as a substitute, replacing Chris Humphrey.
73:30 Unfair challenge on Tom Hateley by Jon Daly results in a free kick. Darren Randolph takes the free kick.
72:59 Gary Smith concedes a free kick for a foul on Scott Severin. Free kick taken by Dusan Pernis.
71:15 Jamie Murphy challenges Keith Watson unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Dusan Pernis.
69:19 The referee blows for offside. Indirect free kick taken by Darren Randolph.
67:56 Inswinging corner taken by Tom Hateley from the left by-line.
62:17 Substitution Prince Buaben is brought on as a substitute for Scott Robertson.
62:17 Substitution Johnny Russell goes off and David Robertson comes on.
60:51 Substitution Stephen Craigan comes on in place of Maurice Ross.
58:50 Craig Conway delivers the ball, Header from close in by Jon Daly bounces off the post.
57:58 Effort from just outside the area by Jon Daly goes over the target.
56:03 Jamie Murphy challenges Scott Severin unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Scott Severin.
54:07 Corner taken right-footed by Tom Hateley from the right by-line, Gary Smith produces a header from close range which goes
wide of the left-hand post.
52:51 Unfair challenge on Johnny Russell by Stewart Carswell results in a free kick. The free kick is swung in right-footed by Craig
Conway, clearance by Gavin Gunning.
52:00 Corner taken by Tom Hateley from the right by-line to the near post, save by Dusan Pernis.
52:00 Substitution Gary Smith joins the action as a substitute, replacing Ross Forbes.
48:57 Assist by Paul Dixon.
48:57 GOAL - Jon Daly:Dundee Utd 3 - 0 Motherwell Jon Daly finds the back of the net with a goal from inside the area to the bottom left corner of the goal. Dundee Utd 3-0
47:36 Ross Forbes gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Morgaro Gomis. Garry Kenneth takes the free kick.
46:38 The referee blows for offside. Darren Randolph takes the indirect free kick.
45:01 The second half kicks off.
45:00+1:16 The ref blows to signal half-time.
43:48 Corner taken left-footed by Ross Forbes from the right by-line, Dusan Pernis makes a save.
42:22 Assist by Craig Conway.
42:22 GOAL - Jon Daly:Dundee Utd 2 - 0 Motherwell Jon Daly gets on the score sheet with a goal from deep inside the penalty box to the bottom right corner of the goal. Dundee
Utd 2-0 Motherwell.
37:25 Effort on goal by Craig Conway from outside the penalty box goes harmlessly over the bar.
36:38 David Goodwillie concedes a free kick for a foul on Stewart Carswell. Steve Jennings restarts play with the free kick.
35:36 Morgaro Gomis fouled by Ross Forbes, the ref awards a free kick. The assist for the goal came from Paul Dixon.
35:36 GOAL - Jon Daly:Dundee Utd 1 - 0 Motherwell Jon Daly finds the net with a headed goal from inside the area. Dundee Utd 1-0 Motherwell.
34:32 Booking Ross Forbes shown a yellow card.
29:18 Inswinging corner taken by Tom Hateley from the left by-line, save by Dusan Pernis.
25:19 Shot from just outside the area by Craig Conway goes over the bar.
23:59 Morgaro Gomis takes a shot. Darren Randolph makes a save.
23:04 Foul by Garry Kenneth on Shaun Hutchinson, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Darren Randolph.
22:46 Foul by Francis Jeffers on Paul Dixon, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Paul Dixon.
22:18 Corner taken by Craig Conway, clearance by Maurice Ross.
21:04 Jon Daly takes a shot. Darren Randolph makes a save.
20:41 Free kick awarded for a foul by Gavin Gunning on Morgaro Gomis. Craig Conway restarts play with the free kick.
19:47 Keith Watson takes a shot. Save by Darren Randolph.
16:22 Foul by Stewart Carswell on Craig Conway, free kick awarded. Craig Conway crosses the ball in from the free kick, Ross Forbes
makes a clearance.
15:37 Shot from just outside the box by Johnny Russell goes over the bar.
13:04 Johnny Russell takes a shot from inside the box clearing the bar.
2:13 Scott Severin concedes a free kick for a foul on Steve Jennings. Direct free kick taken by Darren Randolph.
1:31 Corner taken by Craig Conway from the right by-line, Shaun Hutchinson makes a clearance.
1:16 Garry Kenneth challenges Ross Forbes unfairly and gives away a free kick. Ross Forbes takes the direct free kick.
0:00 The match has kicked off.
Live text and data provided by The Press Association.
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