Interim Motherwell boss Stuart Kettlewell kept up his winning start in charge at Fir Park with a 2-0 victory over Hearts.
Kettlewell, who has been linked with the vacant managerial post alongside Ian Holloway and Grant McCann, will have done his chances of landing the role on a permanent basis no harm, having guided Well to back-to-back home wins for the first time since December 2021.
The Steelmen have moved six points clear of Dundee United at the foot of the cinch Premiership table following their second home success in five days.
Jonathan Obika netted his first goal since joining Motherwell in the 40th minute and Blair Spittal doubled the hosts’ advantage just 15 seconds into the second half.
Hearts were denied twice by the woodwork in the first half, but failed to mount much of a threat after the break – the Tynecastle side remain third, five points clear of Hibernian.
The visitors controlled the possession early on without troubling the Motherwell goal.
Calum Butcher fired a shot well wide of the target as the hosts managed the first effort of the match, and at the other end Stephen Humphrys found space before blazing over the top.
Hearts should have taken the lead just after the half-hour mark when Robert Snodgrass dispossessed Dean Cornelius before picking out Lawrence Shankland, who saw his header beat Liam Kelly then strike the foot of the post.
A brilliant stop by Zander Clark kept out Sean Goss’ fizzing strike, though the Hearts keeper would be beaten just 30 seconds later.
Goss was involved again, this time driving a low shot that was turned home from close range by Obika.
On the stroke of half-time, Stephen Kingsley saw his floated free-kick sail past Kelly, but again the woodwork would come to the home side’s rescue.
Motherwell made the perfect start to the second half when they doubled their advantage just 15 seconds after the restart. Spittal connected with Kevin van Veen’s cross and despite being denied by the post, he was alert to prod home the rebound.
Kelly did well to smother Toby Sibbick’s back-post header and Robbie Neilson opted to make a triple substitution in an attempt to turn around his side’s fortunes.
It was Motherwell who continued to look the more likely, however, and Max Johnston really should have put the game beyond doubt, seizing on a loose ball inside the area and firing a low drive wide of the target.
The closing stages saw the game interrupted by a series of Motherwell substitutions, allowing the home side to easily see out an excellent victory.