Motherwell boss Graham Alexander admitted they had a problem after a second 4-1 defeat against the Scottish Premiership’s bottom club in two months.
Well, who were beaten by the same scoreline against Hamilton in February when they were propping up the table, could have all but secured their top-flight status for another season by going 13 points above Saturday’s opponents Kilmarnock.
Barry Maguire’s first goal for the club got them level in the eighth minute after Liam Kelly spilled Kyle Lafferty’s ambitious first-minute strike.
Motherwell had a good shout for a penalty but some sloppy defending allowed Rory McKenzie, Chris Burke and Mitch Pinnock to net after the interval.
The result leaves them eight points above new basement side Hamilton and seven above Kilmarnock, and Alexander could not understand why they had again dropped their intensity after a good run of results.
“I keep getting asked ‘will this result make you safe?’ and things like that,” he said.
“I’m going to keep saying until everybody listens that we are in a fight until the end of the season to win as many points as possible. Just for our own pride outwith anything else.
“Even if this result had gone our way, when do we relax? I don’t get that mentality at all.
“And that’s what it feels like because you can’t go to Hibs two weeks ago and completely dominate and win a game and then come to the team bottom of the table and get a result like that.
“And it’s not the first time either. It happened to us a month ago against Hamilton.
“We have been beaten 4-1 twice by the team on the bottom of the table. That’s telling myself and everyone around that there’s a problem.”
Kilmarnock manager Tommy Wright was delighted his players and the club’s fans were able to enjoy their weekend after picking up one point from their previous 10 matches.
Wright never felt morale had been too seriously impacted by their run but knows the emphatic victory offers an opportunity to build some positive momentum.
“It should lift the mood even better than what it is,” he said. “I don’t think anyone can point the finger at us and say that we have played like a team that’s been on the bad run that we have. So the mood has been good and that should make it better.
“That gives us an opportunity to build. We have closed the gap on Ross County and taken three points off a team that’s above us and been on a good run.
“We have five games where we should get three home games if things work out as we think it should. That will hopefully help us achieve what we want to achieve.”