Two goals from Kevin van Veen helped Motherwell to a comfortable 3-0 home win over Livingston.
The striker’s brace and a third from Max Johnston had Stuart Kettlewell’s side firmly in control by the 34th minute of a one-sided contest.
Only the offside flag denied Van Veen a late hat-trick as Motherwell improved their chances of making the top six by the split.
Livingston barely created a chance of note throughout the 90 minutes to remain just outside the top half of the table in seventh place.
Motherwell were unaltered from the side that had won at Easter Road in their previous outing.
Livingston made three changes from the side beaten at St Mirren. Out went Morgan Boyes, Andrew Shinnie and Scott Pittman, replaced by Steven Bradley, Stephen Kelly and Stephane Omeonga.
The home side had the first chance of the game. Van Veen played in Johnston but he shot straight at Shamal George.
Well were more clinical when they went in front after just nine minutes. Sean Goss played in Mikael Mandron who in turn fed James Furlong. The wing-back’s lay-off was perfect for Van Veen and he smashed a shot beyond George.
Livingston tried to respond and Bradley’s ball in from the right only narrowly evaded the in-rushing Joel Nouble before Jack Fitzwater lashed a shot high over the bar from outside the box.
It was Motherwell, though, who continued to carry the greater attacking threat and two quickfire goals all but ended the contest after just 34 minutes.
The first was scored by Van Veen as he claimed his 22nd goal of the season after sliding a low shot past George at his near post.
Barely 60 seconds later and Motherwell had their third. Blair Spittal’s shot was blocked by George but fell kindly for Johnston, who steered the ball into the empty net. The offside flag went up immediately but was soon overturned by VAR, with the goal allowed to stand.
The home side kept pushing for a fourth and Spittal’s deflected effort was well held by George before Bradley’s dribbler at the other end failed to trouble Liam Kelly.
The second half was a bit of a non-event although it was Motherwell who looked more likely to score again. Paul McGinn directed a shot onto the post while Van Veen was denied his hat-trick by the flag as he finished at the second attempt.