League debutants Gunnar Nielsen and Craig Moore both made a vital contribution as Motherwell came from behind to beat Hearts 2-1.
Nielsen and Moore both appeared in the Europa League and League Cup this season, and with Lee Hollis, James McFadden and Lionel Ainsworth injured they were handed the chance to make an impact in the Scottish Premiership which they duly took.
’Well dominated the early part of Saturday’s game and on another day could have been awarded three penalties, one for John Sutton getting dumped to the ground, and two for handball.
But referee Brian Colvin waved all appeals away and as half time approached ‘Well had Nielsen to thank for keeping them level with a brilliant double save to deny first Jamie Walker and David Smith on the rebound.
On the other side of half-time many in the Phil O’Donnell Stand thought Sutton had given ’Well the lead but his header only found the side netting.
The home side were pressing and Jamie MacDonald did really well to claw away another Sutton corner and from the resultant Iain Vigurs corner Shaun Hutchinson’s effort was cleared off the line by Callum tapping.
On 62 minutes Hearts took the lead completely against the run of play as a quick break saw RYAN STEVENSON pick the ball up on the left and drive for goal, his shot deflecting off Stephen McManus to beat Nielsen at his near post.
This rang an alarm bell in the home dugout and on 68 minutes a new hero emerged as Moore and Paul Lawson were sent on for Zaine Francis-Angol and Stuart Carswell.
MOORE had only been on the pitch for around 10 seconds when a poor defensive header by Brad Mckay dropped to him at the edge of the area and he lashed the ball into the net.
It was a spectacular goal, but there was still work to be done if ’Well wanted all three points. Bob McHugh replaced Henri Anier to freshen things up front, and finally seven minuites from time the winner came.
Vigurs played in another corner and HUTCHINSON was left unmarked to bullet a header past MacDonald.
The victory allowed ’Well to move to joint-second in the table alongside Inverness.
Motherwell: Nielsen, Hammell, Ramsden, Hutchinson, McManus, Sutton, Vigurs, Lasley, Francis-Angol (Moore 68), Carswell (Lawson 68), Anier (McHugh 75). Subs not used: Stewart, Cummins, Kerr, Murray.
Hearts: MacDonald, Hammill, Wilson, McGowan, Stevenson, Paterson (Robinson 55), Walker, McKay, Smith (Nicholson 82), Tapping (Holt 77), McGhee.
Referee: Brian Colvin.