Motherwell’s colts side put in a fighting performance but just lost out to Championship high-flyers Ross County in the IRN-BRU Cup quarter-final.
A stunning Adam Livingstone free-kick pegged back the Staggies but two goals lost from set plays handed the win to the visitors.
In a combative affair at Fir Park, the game came down to four incidents in a five-minute spell.
With six minutes gone in the second half, County had the lead. A corner to the back post was headed back across the face of the goal, where Ross Stewart was on hand to knock the ball home.
Two minutes later, Stephen Craigan’s men were handed a lifeline as Jake Hastie was felled as he bore down on goal.
Presented with the chance 20 yards from goal, left back Livingstone lifted the ball brilliantly over the wall and off the bar, before it nestled in the net.
Scenes of celebration were then immediately tempered. Christian Mbulu was adjudged to have committed an act of violent conduct as he ran into Don Cowie as he went to join his team-mates.
A man down, the young Steelmen were then undone three minutes later from another set play. Again, Stewart was the beneficiary, putting the Championship side back in the lead.
Motherwell continued to push to try and get back into the match, but ultimately came up short as their more-experienced opponents held firm in front of 1,200 supporters.