Ten-man Motherwell U20s won 1-0 for the second time in four days, edging out Rangers at the Excelsior Stadium.
In a tightly fought encounter, the game’s pivotal moment came on the 65th minute when Jake Hastie won his side a penalty, duly converted by Ross MacLean.
Goalscorer MacLean would also see red in the dying seconds, when he took one for the team, pulling down Rangers sub Ross Lyon as he broke earning himself a second yellow.
The win moves ‘Well above Rangers and into seventh, their highest spot of the campaign, just a point behind Hearts in sixth with a game in hand over the Edinburgh club.
Stephen Craigan again named an extremely young starting eleven, which contained three sixteen-year olds, five seventeen-year olds and three eighteen-year olds.
And the Claret and Amber men started the game brightly, MacLean firing a low ball across the six-yard box before a well-worked corner almost presented a chance for Luke Watt, the defender not able to quite connect with a smart cross towards the edge of the box.
However, Rangers gradually worked their way into proceedings and should have taken the lead after six minutes, Josh Jeffries dragging a shot wide after good work from Mekhi Leacock-McLeod to win the ball back deep in Motherwell territory.
Motherwell replied with a MacLean shot dragged wide before Rangers came within an inch of scoring. Bursting clear on the counter, Dylan Dykes and Ryan Hardie combined, only for the former to hit a low shot off the woodwork. The rebound spun out to Jeffries, but he curled a shot over.
Rangers continued to push and Jordan Thompson had a shot straight at Morrison, but that was that in terms of chances in the first half.
The only other noteworthy item came in the shape of a pair of yellow cards, one for Rangers’ Dykes and the other for MacLean, which would prove important later in the game.
The visitors started the second half on the front foot and Dykes had a low, bouncing shot well wide of target. Seven minutes later, David Turnbull had Motherwell’s first effort of the second period, spinning cleverly from a throw in but drilled it wide of target.
Just before the hour, Motherwell had a claim for a penalty when Falconer went down under pressure from David Brownlie, but referee Craig Napier was having none of it. A minute later, Turnbull shot from distance again, but it dropped way wide.
Brownlie was again involved, this time down the other end, when he lost his marker from a free kick, but could only steer his free header over the bar from six yards.
It was to prove a crucial miss as with their next break just four minutes later, Motherwell won the penalty that would ultimately see them take all three points.
Again Brownlie was in the thick of the action, finding himself in a foot race with Hastie after Allan Campbell had threaded him through. Hastie won it, only to be bundled to the ground by a clash of legs. After not giving the early decision, this time the referee pointed to the spot.
MacLean kept his nerve to coolly slot into the bottom right corner, sending Robby McCrorie the wrong way.
‘Well finished the game strongly and a MacLean shot forced McCrorie to save before the same player had another shot following a short corner, only to fire it way wide of target.
In the dying seconds, PJ Morrison had to make a terrific one-handed save to stop sub Roberts after ‘Well had been cut open for the only real time in the half.
Just before the final whistle, Ross MacLean picked up a second yellow for a cynical tug as Rangers broke on the counter. Taking one for the team, he hauled the blue attack but was forced to sit out the last minute.
Motherwell: Morrison, McMillan, Livingston, Maguire, Watt, Campbell, MacLean, Turnbull, Falconer (Scott – 83mins), Hastie, R. Leitch
Subs Not Used: Long, Guthrie, Moore, Leighton
Goals: MacLean (65) (pen)
Red Card: MacLean (90)