STEPHEN ROBINSON was delighted with Tony Watt in the aftermath of his side’s commanding win over Ross County, adding that he believes Motherwell fans are now seeing the best of him now that the 26-year-old is up to full fitness.

The striker was the most important player on the park yesterday afternoon: he opened the scoring with a well-taken finish; won the penalty that Mark O’Hara converted to double the Steelmen’s lead; and cleared a goal-bound effort off his own line with the score at 2-0, leading to effusive praise from his manager after the full-time whistle.

Robinson said: “Tony was unplayable today. If he stays as fit as we’ve got him now then he’s a very good footballer.

“That’s the best all-round performance [I’ve seen from him].

“We’re pleased for him. He’s bought in to what we’re trying to do and he’s a big asset for us.”

Motherwell probably had the better time of it during the game’s opening exchanges but looked a yard of the pace in the final third – understandable, given their last competitive outing was almost a month ago – as they probed for a way through while County sprung forward periodically on the break.

The home side were a little ponderous and indirect with their build-up play but the lively Devante Cole looked particularly threatening on the left of Motherwell’s forward line.

It was, however, a fairly drab contest during the first half. Allan Campbell had a sight of goal but skewed his shot harmlessly wide, and Charles-Cook – who looked like County’s greatest threat going forward – should have done a little better when he connected with Gardyne’s delivery but could only direct his header into the waiting arms of Trevor Carson.

With half an hour played, Carson’s afternoon was brought to a premature end following a collision with Charles-Cook and was replaced by debutant Aaron Chapman in goal.

A couple of timely last-man interventions from Tom Grivosti kept Motherwell at bay after they looked to have breached the visitors’ defence before Watt broke the deadlock at Fir Park shortly before half-time.

Nathan McGinley was sent scarpering unopposed down the left wing with a well-timed through ball and drilled a low delivery across the face of goal where Watt was waiting to divert the ball home under some heavy pressure.

Charles-Cook went close to levelling the scores on the stroke of half-time after getting on the end of Charlie Lakin’s whipped delivery but while the winger was able to nudge the ball past Chapman, it was booted clear before it could trickle over the line.

Unwilling to settle for a one-goal advantage, Motherwell came out after the restart chasing a second. There was a greater sense of authority coming from the hosts now as they stroked the ball around with confidence and 10 minutes into the second half they got their reward. Watt sped into the area and just beat Alex Iacovitti in a footrace to the ball, went down under the defender’s challenge and makeshift centre-back O’Hara stepped up to convert from 12 yards.

Unsatisfied with scoring one goal and winning a penalty for another, Watt then turned saviour at the other end when he deflected Ross Stewart’s goal-bound header from a corner over the bar. The County striker then spurned an even greater chance to reduce the deficit moments later when he got on the end of Gardyne’s cushioned header, only to somehow blast his close-range shot wide of the target.

Substitute Callum Lang then made it 3-0 to the Robinson’s men moments after coming off the bench to kill off any slim hopes of a County comeback. A Polworth corner was headed back across goal by Declan Gallagher, and Lang pounced at the near post make it three.

The Steelmen weren’t finished though. Cole marked an impressive display with a goal of his own by bursting free of County’s offside trap and showing great composure to poke the ball past Ross Doohan and seal the rout for the hosts.

“It was a major disappointment,” conceded Staggies boss Stuart Kettlewell. “You could see with some of the opportunities that we gifted and with some of the slack play that there is that mental aspect of it.

“We did become a little bit soft, especially in the second half, and it frustrates me because I thought there were plenty of positives to take from the first half. It was a seriously disappointing day for us all.”