There were no wrestlers present, but Motherwell strangled Dundee into submission last night at Dens Park to round off a wonderful few days with a deserved win.

A single early goal by Craig Tanner was enough to give them the victory, on a night when they proved there is plenty of brains to go with their brawn, no matter the opinion of Rangers defender Fabio Cardoso, who compared the Steelmen to the stars of the WWE in the Ibrox side’s official match programme.

Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson freshened up his side after the physically and emotionally draining Betfred Cup semi-final victory over Rangers on Sunday, with Gael Bigirimana, Craig Tanner, Elliott Frear and Alex Fisher coming in for Allan Campbell, Chris Cadden, Andy Rose and man of the moment, Louis Moult.

Not that they needed their talismanic striker particularly in a first-half which the visitors had the better of despite their weekend exertions.

It took them just five minutes to hit the front, as Charles Dunne sent a ball up to Ryan Bowman, who flicked it on for the unmarked Tanner to collect inside the area. He had time to take a touch before placing a curling effort high past Scott Bain with the outside of his left boot.

Motherwell were pressing high, stopping Dundee from adopting their favoured approach of passing from the back, and the locals voiced their concern on more than one occasion as Bain was forced into high aimless balls that were meat and drink to the three hulking Motherwell defenders.

They were given a route back into the game when visiting captain Carl McHugh won a challenge in midfield facing his own goal, with the ball ricocheting all the way back to Trevor Carson. The goalkeeper duly picked it up, but referee Stephen Finnie was maybe the only man in Dens Park who thought that McHugh had deliberately passed it back, and awarded an indirect free-kick 12 yards from goal.

With a mass of claret and amber bodies charging him down though, Roarie Deacon’s subsequent dragged effort was in-keeping with his first-half contribution; entirely wasteful.

He wasn’t the only one, in fairness to him. Sofien Moussa blew a couple of good opportunities too as Neil McCann’s men finally burst into life, and the striker thought he had dragged his side level before the break.

A cracking cross from Kevin Holt found the head of Moussa, who directed the ball low past Carson, but referee Finnie saw a push from the frontman on Peter Hartley and chopped the goal off.

Motherwell would have been pleased to hear the half-time whistle, and they managed to regroup for a second period in which Dundee had plenty of possession, but very little in the way of clear-cut chances.

The introduction of Paul McGowan for Deacon added a sorely needed creative spark, and his trickery almost opened up a Motherwell defence that was being superbly marshalled by captain McHugh after Peter Hartley was forced off with a knee injury.

Alas, for all of Dundee’s probing, the better opportunities fell at the other end, and Bigirimana really should have wrapped up the points when he burst through onto substitute Moult’s clever backheel and faced up Bain

From just eight yards though, the midfielder gave Bain a chance with his effort, which to be fair to the Scotland squad keeper, he took brilliantly to claw the ball clear.

Dundee continued to huff and puff, and a deep ball to the back post by Holt found Moussa rising well, but Carson dealt with his effort well.

Moult could have rounded off a dream week in the closing stages as he drove towards the Dundee defence and sidestepped the challenge of Jack Hendry before firing just over the junction of crossbar and post.

It mattered not, and at the final bell Motherwell rose to third, with a second straight defeat leaving Dundee a little on the ropes.