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Tony Watt maintains scoring streak to give Motherwell victory over Dundee

Motherwell v Rangers – Scottish Premiership – Fir Park
(Image credit: Jeff Holmes)

Tony Watt scored for the third consecutive league game to earn 10-man Motherwell a 1-0 victory over Dundee.

Watt netted his fourth goal of the season with a glancing header against the run of play 34 minutes in at Fir Park.

Paul McMullan had earlier hit the bar for Dundee but the visitors, who have been linked with a loan bid for Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths, lacked a cutting edge to go with their domination of possession. Only two of their 13 efforts at goal were on target.

Jake Carroll was sent off in the 78th minute but Motherwell held on to move above Celtic and Rangers into the cinch Premiership top four.

Dundee made the brighter start with wide players Luke McCowan and McMullan looking lively and they teamed up to create the visitors’ best first-half moment. The latter’s long-range effort hit the underside of bar and bounced to safety.

The Taysiders lost Charlie Adam to a muscle injury just before the half-hour mark, with Paul McGowan coming on.

Motherwell had looked a yard off the pace but they showed signs of life when Callum Slattery’s pass found a gap for Watt. Goalkeeper Adam Legzdins did enough to force the striker away from goal.

The deciding goal came after Motherwell won a free-kick just inside the Dundee half. Carroll curled the ball towards the penalty spot and Watt got a deft touch with his back to goal to help it into the far corner.

Ricki Lamie and Liam Fontaine were off target with headers at either end of the park in a scrappy finale to the half.

Watt might have had another goal had he been able to control a return pass from Justin Amaluzor but Dundee quickly began to dominate second-half possession and Jordan McGhee was not far away with a header from Cammy Kerr’s cross.

Dundee boss James McPake brought on striker Cillian Sheridan for holding midfielder Shaun Byrne and Motherwell were struggling to hold on to the ball.

Graham Alexander responded with a double switch midway through the half, handing midfielder Sean Goss a debut and bringing on striker Kevin van Veen and taking off his two wingers to change to a 4-4-2 formation.

Dundee soon had their best second-half chance when Jason Cummings turned his marker on the edge of the box, but the striker shot straight at Liam Kelly.

The visitors were handed a lifeline when Carroll lunged into a challenge on Max Anderson. The left-back left the ground and there was little surprise when Willie Collum flashed the red card, although Alexander disagreed.

Watt was sacrificed for Nathan McGinley and Motherwell moved to a five-man defence.

Goss almost made a name for himself with an ambitious free-kick that had Legzdins backtracking to push the ball over.

Dundee launched some late pressure but Lee Ashcroft stabbed the ball straight at Kelly following a long throw and Cummings was denied from close range, although Collum gave a goal kick.