Hearts defeated Motherwell in the capital, but the visitors left frustrated after a heavy attacking onslaught in the second half.
Liam Boyce’s early penalty and Stephen Kingsley’s free-kick was enough to do the damage, despite Motherwell banging down the door relentlessly in the second period.
Bevis Mugabi came in for Ricki Lamie in the only change to Motherwell’s starting team, with Graham Alexander sticking with the vast majority of the side which defeated Ross County last time out.
In front of a buoyant home crowd, the hosts would find themselves ahead early doors.
Boyce slipped in down the right and, with Kelly diving out, went down in the area.
Referee David Munro took his time but pointed at the spot, with Boyce stepping up to dispatch his spot kick powerfully into the bottom-left corner.
Motherwell didn’t wilt and matched up to a high-tempo battle in midfield, but it took time to get the ball into scoring positions.
Before they did, Hearts were two up.
Winning a free-kick on the edge of the box, Kingsley showed his prowess to curl the ball into the top-left corner of the net from 25 yards.
Motherwell grew in confidence and, restricting the hosts to one chance from open play all half, had plenty opportunities of their own.
Woolery’s shot from 25 yards was netbound before being deflected behind at the last moment, with Ojala rising to head narrowly over from the resulting corner.
Then, in first half stoppage time, two huge chances came Motherwell’s way.
Watt saw his chance from 30 yards and sent a dipping half volley towards goal which Gordon had to act fast to tip over the bar.
Then, from the corner, the visitors again caused chaos in the box and Watt’s swivel and shot from close range was somehow smothered by Gordon.
Hearts were on the front foot early in the second period and could have killed the game.
Devlin went down easily in the box and referee Munro was quick again to point at the spot.
This time, Kelly read Boyce’s intentions perfectly and turned away the penalty to keep ‘Well in it.
It was from there the momentum swung. Motherwell dominated proceedings, with Woolery having the best chance, only to be denied by the brilliant save from Gordon.
Van Veen, O’Hara and Ojala also went close but Gordon would stand firm and the boys in claret and amber left the capital empty-handed.
Motherwell: Kelly, O’Donnell, Mugabi, Ojala, McGinley, Grimshaw, O’Hara, Slattery, Woolery, Watt, Van Veen.