Motherwell came from behind to beat bottom side Livingston 3-1 and enhance their Scottish Premiership top-six hopes.

Livingston had taken the lead after only three minutes through Tete Yengi but Sam Nicholson levelled minutes into the second half before Blair Spittal notched a sublime goal.

Substitute Jack Vale compounded Livingston’s woes with a third in the 87th minute.

Motherwell climbed to within three points off the top six, while Livingston sit seven points adrift at the foot of the table with only 10 games left.

The home team made a fast start and Yengi gave them the lead following a flowing move.

The Australian was involved at the start with a lay-off to Bruce Anderson and the striker’s reverse pass set Daniel MacKay clear. His shot was blocked by Liam Kelly but the ball broke to Yengi and he swept a shot into the empty net.

It was just the start Livingston needed after losing to an agonising stoppage-time goal in the weekend’s relegation battle at Ross County.

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Motherwell could have levelled five minutes later but Bevis Mugabi headed a Spittal free-kick wide from 10 yards.

The visitors enjoyed plenty of possession but were struggling to create any clear-cut chances in the final third.

Their next opening did not come until the 28th minute when Spittal got on the end of Adam Devine’s pass inside the box but his miscued effort drifted wide.

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Tete Yengi opens the scoring early for Livingston against Motherwell

MacKay had a shot saved by Kelly at the other end before the visitors finished the half strongly.

Spittal was again involved as he got on the end of a Stephen O’Donnell cross and his first-time shot was deflected just over.

From Spittal’s resulting free-kick, Livingston goalkeeper Shamal George pushed Mugabi’s header behind.

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Motherwell takes the lead against Livingston as Blair Spittal fires a volley into the top corner

Motherwell brought on Vale at the break and Stuart Kettlewell’s side drew level just four minutes later.

O’Donnell again delivered a cross from the right and this time Nicholson glanced a header beyond George from close range.

Livingston were dealt another blow after injured goalkeeper George had to be replaced by Michael McGovern in the 57th minute.

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Jack Vale heads in to make it 3-1 for Motherwell against Livingston

Motherwell grew in confidence after fighting back and Kettlewell’s team went ahead in the 71st minute with a sublime effort from Spittal.

Paul McGinn’s cross fell to the playmaker on the edge of the box and he smashed an unstoppable left-footed half-volley into the top corner.

Vale then made sure of the points when he nodded home three minutes from time.

Martindale: Form down to belief

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Livingston’s David Martindale rues his team’s ‘fragility’ after they were defeated 3-1 by Motherwell at home

Livingston manager Davie Martindale: “Of course it’s confidence. That group at the start went to Easter Road [against Hibs], good value, shape and discipline. Now we look a million miles away from that and it’s down to belief.

“First half we gave up a wee bit of territory but that was part of the game plan. It probably gave them a wee bit more than I’d hoped. I thought we looked a threat on the counter.

“Shamal George didn’t have a lot to do then we go out and lose an early goal, a cheap goal. The game became very difficult for the players, position, form, eats into that.”

Kettlewell not getting carried away after win

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Motherwell boss Stuart Kettlewell hopes his team can push for the top-six spots in the Scottish Premiership after the 3-1 win over Livingston

Motherwell manager Stuart Kettlewell: “It showed great character coming here. You can see their team was up after the first goal, which was really poor and I was really annoyed at half-time.

“It wasn’t how we passed the ball, it was the fact we all had eyes for the ball. It was a great reaction, the guys got some stick at half-time and the goals were of sheer quality. But once we get that organisation behind the ball it worked for us.

“We won’t get carried away because it’s one victory, one win but we have to set the bar high. Simply from my side it’s about the performance, especially the second half. If we can piece together that first half against Celtic then we can put on a real show.

“It needs to be bigger picture. We’ve had so many strong performances since the turn of the year and games we should have won.

“We’ve conceded cheap and soft goals which happened tonight, but play like we did in the second half then I think we can compete with most teams.”

What’s next?

Livingston’s next Scottish Premiership game is away to St Johnstone on Saturday, while Motherwell face Rangers at Ibrox.

Both games kick off at 3pm.

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