Kevin van Veen’s second-half double inflicted a third straight defeat on Hibernian as Motherwell won 3-1 at Easter Road.
The Dutchman rode his luck with a penalty that squirmed under Hibs goalkeeper David Marshall before adding a third with a brilliant free-kick.
The visitors took an early lead with a sublime free-kick from Sean Goss and were well worthy of their lead at the break.
Van Veen spot-kick doubled the advantage before Kevin Nisbet made it 2-1 with a close-range header. Van Veen’s second sealed the points to leave Hibs just one point above the split line in sixth place.
The visitors started well and took the lead after only seven minutes through Goss.
Motherwell midfielder Dean Cornelius was fouled on the edge of the box and Goss lifted a stunning free-kick into the top corner.
The home side responded well and Steelmen defender Paul McGinn was well positioned to clear the danger with Josh Campbell ready to pounce, before Nisbet had a header tipped over the bar by Liam Kelly.
Hibs wing-back Chris Cadden then curled a left-foot effort just wide after cutting in from the right but it was the away team that should have doubled their lead.
Van Veen raced on to Dan Casey’s ball over the top but prodded his effort just past the post from close range.
After being booed off by the home fans at half-time, it was no surprise that Hibs manager Lee Johnson made some changes at the break.
He brought Harry McKirdy on for Jake Doyle-Hayes and switched to a flat back four, with CJ Egan-Riley moving into midfield.
But things got worse for the Leith side when they fell two behind from the penalty spot.
Marshall was booked for clattering into Blair Spittal late in the box as they challenged for a loose ball.
And the former Scotland goalkeeper’s misery was compounded when he allowed Van Veen’s poor penalty to squirm under his body.
Spittal was unable to continue and was replaced by Harry Paton, whose signing was only announced just hours before kick off.
Motherwell were in control but Hibs pulled one back in the 62nd minute when Nisbet got on the end of Cadden’s cross to power a header past Kelly from close range.
Substitute Harry McKirdy then fizzed a low half-volley just past the post as Hibs went in search of an equaliser.
But Van Veen made sure the points would be heading back along the M8 after firing a low free-kick past Marshall from 25 yards.
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