A John Sutton strike gave Motherwell their sixth win in a row at Tynecastle on Saturday, their longest top flight winning streak for 77 years.
Gunnar Nielsen returned in goal having missed five games, while Henri Anier settled for the bench after agreeing a two and half year deal.
’Well were in determined mood to put a young Hearts side to the sword right from the off and only a good save from Jamie MacDonald prevented Jordan McGhee turning a James McFadden cross into his own net.
The visitors were passing the ball with a swaggering confidence with McFadden pulling the strings and when he put in Lionel Ainsworth it looked like a certain goal until Scott Robinson’s timely block.
Chances were scarce at the other end, with a low cross from McGhee slid wide by Ryan Stevenson as close as Hearts came in the first half.
A fizzing shot by Ainsworth had to be dealt with by MacDonald, before ’Well finally beat him five minutes from the break.
Iain Vigurs’s through ball was left by Brad McKay and SUTTON ran on to round MacDonald and tuck in from a near impossible angle.
There seemed little to suggest ’Well wouldn’t extend their lead in the second half and indeed only MacDonald diving bravery at the feet of Ainsworth denied the winger.
However, slowly the home side crept into the match and Nielsen was fortunate after misjudging a Stevenson cross there was no one in white to knock the ball into the net.
However he did rather better as David Smith stung his palms from 30 yards and then tipped a Stevenson shot over.
Jamie Walker had a go parried by Nielsen before Anier replaced McFadden and the momentum of the match turned back to ’Well.
Sutton slipped in Anier who slipped inside McKay and Dylan McGowan but shot straight at MacDonald.
The Estonian did have the ball into the net five minutes from time after MacDonald saved from Sutton, but referee Willie Collum blew for a foul.
In the last minute Jamie Hamill had a great chance to equalise eight yards out, but the ball got caught up in his feet and his eventual weak shot was saved by Nielsen’s knees.
Hearts: MacDonald, Hamill, McHattie (Walker 53), McGowan, Stevenson, Robinson, Paterson, McKay, Smith (B King 80), Carrick (Nicholson 73), McGhee. Subs not used: Hamilton, Tapping, A King, Oliver.
Motherwell: Nielsen, Hammell, Ramsden, Hutchinson, McManus, McFadden (Anier 73), Sutton, Vigurs (Lawson 84),Lasley, Carswell, Ainsworth (Fracis-Angol 73). Subs not used: Stewart, McHugh, Moore, Murray.
Referee: Willie Collum.