Motherwell crashed out of the Betfred Cup on a horrible night on and off the park.
Hearts made the most of their first half supremacy and a sodden pitch, with goals from Michael Smith and Conor Washington providing them with a 2-0 lead.
‘Well weathered the storm and as the heavy rain subsided in the second half, Christopher Long pulled one back and give the Fir Park men some 30 minutes to keep their cup hopes alive.
However, for the second consecutive season in the Betfred Cup, it was the Tynecastle men who progressed to the next round.
Stephen Robinson largely stood by the side which lost heavily to Celtic, making only one change with James Scott coming in to lead the attack and hopefully add to his three Betfred cup goals.
Hearts manager Craig Levein wasted no time bringing in on loan Manchester United goalkeeper Joel Pereira to replace the underfire Zdenek Zlamal.
It was his opposite number who was put under immediate pressure as the Edinburgh pressed from the kick-off looking for an early advantage.
Mark Gillespie had to be brave and come through a pack of players to punch clear Andy irving’s free kick.
But after eight minutes when the ‘Well ‘keeper next punched away the Hearts midfielder’s corner it fell for Christophe Berra. Although his shot lacked any power, it was nudged on by Conor Washington and when it struck Charles Dunne’s hand, under the new ruling referee Bobby Madden had no hesitation in pointing to the penalty spot.
It looked the perfect chance for Hearts’ opener but Sean Clare slammed the spot kick against the foot off the post and Motherwell breathed a sigh of relief.
The Tynecastle side, undaunted by the missed opportunity, controlled the flow of the game.
It took the home side to muster any threat on the visitor’s goal and although Richard Tait’s deep cross was inviting it bounced a metre in front of Sherwin Seedorf as he raced towards the back post.
Three minutes later the on loan keeper was forced into action. Scot made a powerful run to the byeline before cutting the ball back to Alan Campbell. His shot was palmed out by Pereira but in the scramble which ensued in the six yard box neither Campbell or Seedorf could get the vital touch.
Most of the action was in the home box and after 25 minutes Dunne had to show terrific turn of pace to nick the ball off Washington’s toes. Two minutes later Gillespie was a full stretch along the Fir Park turf to block Jamie Walker low driven shot.
Five minutes from a half that they completely dominated Hearts deservedly took the lead with a fine goal. Fullback Smith drifted in from the right touchline and from the edge of the area his left foot drive whizzed through a busy penalty box before nestling in Gillespie right hand corner of the net.
As the rain clouds burst overhead the ‘Well forced a couple of efforts on the Hearts’ goal but from a tight angle and 25 yards, Jermaine Hylton and Liam Donnelly’s shots were comfortably held by Pereira.
The sodden pitch contributed to Hearts grabbing a second goal in injury time. Mulraney chased a long through ball into the box but as Gillespie slid out to collect, he caught the Hearts player.
At the second time of asking Washington made no mistake from the spot blasting the Tynecastle sid into a 2-0 lead.
Trying to retrieve themselves from an almost impossible position, ‘Well restarted the second forty five with the double threat of Christopher Long and Devante Cole up front.
It was Gillespie, though, who had to contend with the tricky surface firmly holding Clare’s grounder from 20 yards.
Just before the half hour mark Motherwell’s half time change paid off. Liam Polworth carried the ball towards the box before sliding a pass into Long and from an angle he slipped the ball under the ‘keeper to bring the home side back into contention.
With Christian Ilic waiting to take over from Alan Campbell, ‘Well forced a free kick near the corned flag. Polworth low drive found Washingson at the front of the six yard box and his touch was carrying the ball into his own net until Pereira reacted to push the ball round his post.
Three minutes from time Gillespie made a terrific one footed block to deny Aidan White from eight yards and keep alive ‘Well’s faint hopes of taking the tie to extra time.
But it was Hearts who held on to their slender lead and progress to the quarter-finals.