Craig Tanner’s early goal proved enough to maintain Motherwell’s fine form with a 1-0 win at struggling Dundee.
The visitors, who stunned Rangers at Hampden Park on Sunday in the Betfred Cup semi-final, recorded a fourth win on the bounce after Tanner’s second league goal of the season.
The midfielder latched onto a long ball and finished smartly in just the fifth minute and although Sofien Moussa saw a goal disallowed, Well were good value for the three points to climb above the Gers into third place.
Fresh from their famous victory on Sunday, Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson opted to rest four key players for the trip to Dens Park.
Star striker and top scorer Louis Moult was one of the players dropped to the bench – though the striker did suffer a cut eye at the weekend – but Robinson was rewarded through an early goal from Tanner.
It was a simple long ball that caught the hosts’ defence out, with Alex Fisher nodding into the path of the midfielder, who fired it high beyond Scott Bain from inside the area to open up a lead in just the fifth minute.
Tanner continued to find space in the final third and was left unmarked from a short corner but his shot was pushed out by Bain, who was called into action again moments later to block a short-range effort from Fisher.
The striker, still looking for his first goal for the Steelmen, then saw an effort tipped round the post from 20 yards as Bain again came to the hosts’ rescue.
Dee eventually managed to stem the tide but were posing little threat at the other end until keeper Trevor Carson’s lack of concentration saw him controversially penalised for picking up an overhit ball from Carl McHugh inside the area.
The ball was eventually teed up for Roarie Deacon, but the wideman dragged it tamely wide with their first real attempt on goal.
Dundee manager Neil McCann was left fuming five minutes before the break, however, after Moussa applied to final touch to a flowing team move only for referee Stephen Finnie to pull play back for an alleged push. The striker then shot straight at Carson as Dee finished a challenging first period on top.
The second half started much slower than the first, with Dundee enjoying more of the ball inside their own half but struggling to carve out any clear-cut chances as the visitors were happy to sit behind the ball.
Motherwell enjoyed the best chance of the half, with Gael Bigirimana sent through on goal following a nice flick by Moult only to see his effort superbly saved by Bain.
Marcus Haber, on his return from injury, headed straight at Carson late on but Motherwell claimed a deserved victory.