Stephen Pearson at the double as Motherwell win at Ross County
Stephen Pearson scored twice as Motherwell took the points to cement fifth place in the Ladbrokes Premiership with a 3-1 win against a Ross County side that only got going in the second half.
Pearson gave Well a fourth-minute lead and Keith Lasley quickly doubled the advantage with a wonder strike from 25 yards.
County improved in the second half and substitute Liam Boyce headed one back but Well finished the job in stoppage time when Pearson scored again.
The visitors forced a couple of corners in the opening exchanges but from the second flag kick Steven Hammell's cross was headed over by Stephen McManus.
But Well did not have long to wait for the opener. A good move down the right ended with a Louis Moult cut-back which left Pearson with a simple finish.
It got better for the visitors in the 16th minute when they doubled their lead with a fantastic strike from Lasley. A Hammell corner was only partially cleared and the Motherwell captain fired a low drive into the corner of the net.
County made a tactical switch in the 36th minute with Raffaele De Vita replacing Stuart Murdoch to give the home side an added attacking option.
The hosts came close to getting one back in the final minute of the half when De Vita crossed for Michael Gardyne but his knock down was too hard for Alex Schalk who hooked it over the crossbar.
County had the first real chance of the second half when Gardyne found David Goodwillie in space in the box but the forward lost control of the ball at the vital time.
Goodwillie then got on the end of a chip from Martin Woods but he could not get his shot on target.
The chances kept coming for the home side and it was Goodwillie again who had the chance to net when he was put through by substitute Boyce but Well goalkeeper Craig Samson pulled off a fantastic one-handed save at point-blank range.
It was all County now and Schalk should have done better when he latched on to a Brian Graham knock on but he blasted his shot wide of the upright.
But County got the goal their play deserved in the 70th minute when Samson could only parry a Gardyne shot and Boyce was left to nod in from close range.
Well almost restored their two-goal lead a minute later when Pearson drove the ball wide of target from well inside the box.
Boyce had a great chance to level in the 79th minute when he latched on to a Woods pass but he blasted the ball high and wide.
Graham almost caught Samson out with a deep cross cum shot that the keeper scrambled to turn over the crossbar.
In the dying seconds Boyce got on the end of a Chris Robertson cross but his header was well saved by Samson.
But in stoppage time Pearson scored his second of the game when he headed home from close range after Scott Fox saved from Marvin Johnson.