Match ends, Motherwell 0, Kilmarnock 2.
Motherwell need "fresh blood" who will "die for the football club", said manager Stephen Robinson after defeat by Kilmarnock extended their winless run to nine matches.
Greg Kiltie's clever strike from the edge of the box put the visitors ahead.
Mark O'Hara was then dismissed for pulling Danny Whitehall, and the striker scored the resulting penalty.
"Players that we've signed or brought back to the football club haven't turned up yet," Robinson said.
"I'm looking at a squad of seven or eight players who are fighting and scrapping for the football club.
"But ultimately it's my fault, I take the blame. It's my team, my signings and it's me that has to look myself in the mirror and it's not been good enough.
"We need to bring fresh blood in, people that really want to die for this football club. I care for this football club, it means a lot to me.
"If I'm not doing my job right I'll be the first to hold my hands up for it - I hope players do the same."
Motherwell sit tenth and end 2020 with just six Premiership victories, two points clear of Hamilton, who prop up the table.
Kilmarnock, meanwhile, moved up to eighth after ending a run of five straight defeats.
It was both sides' miserable form which cranked up the pressure on this match, with Kilmarnock manager Alex Dyer stating pre-match that it would be a "big blow" for the loser.
The Englishman brought in Whitehall, Kiltie, and Mitch Pinnock in a bid to end a barren spell in front of goal, having netted just once in their last five matches.
All three had the desired impact and combined for the first goal. Whitehall held up Stuart Findlay's hoof forward, shifted the ball to Pinnock, whose flick allowed Kiltie to get the ball out of his feet and fire low past Trevor Carson.
The goal came just four minutes before the break, and was against the run of play given Motherwell's relatively strong start. But it was the visitors who effectively put the game beyond doubt just four minutes after the break.
O'Hara clearly laid hands on Whitehall when he was about to take a close-range shot, and referee Nick Walsh felt the Motherwell defender had made no attempt to play the ball in preventing the scoring chance.
The former Maidenhead striker composed himself, and rattled the penalty home to double Kilmarnock's lead, which both Kirk Broadfoot and Aaron Tshibola came close to adding to.
After a bright start in which Tony Watt and Allan Campbell both went close twice, everything that could have gone wrong for Motherwell, did.
The red card and second goal left them toiling, and then goalkeeper Trevor Carson had to be substituted after landing awkwardly when collecting a cross, having only just returned from a lengthy period on the sidelines with a knee injury.
Their third place finish from last season seems a distant, and fast-fading memory.
Man of the match - Danny Whitehall
What did we learn?
In a week in which Dyer - the only black manager in Scotland's top flight - was racially abused in a letter sent to Kilmarnock on the back of a poor recent run, this was a personal triumph.
The three changes he made to his team by brining in Whitehall, Pinnock, and Kiltie for Chris Burke, Youssuf Mulumbu, and Nicke Kabamba added great energy after a tentative start, and proved a brilliant decision.
Motherwell, meanwhile, will be losing striker Callum Lang to his parent club Wigan and hope to bring in a couple of players in the January window, and boy does it seem like they need it just now.
Robinson's side lack a clear identity, and while they do create decent opportunities, they do not take them. Some fresh faces might reinvigorate the squad.
What they said
Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson: "We look like we've lost confidence completely. We had chances, don't take them. But as soon as we went 1-0 down we didn't look as though we were going to get back into the game."
Kilmarnock manager Alex Dyer: "I believe in the players. We have been through a tough time. It's only one win, we're not through it yet. But it's nice that they can go home today and feel they've got some just rewards."
Motherwell have to pick themselves up for a huge Lanarkshire derby away to Hamilton on Saturday (15:00 GMT), while Kilmarnock host St Mirren at the same time.
- 1CarsonSubstituted forChapmanat 64'minutes
- 7O'HaraBooked at 52mins
- 8CrawfordBooked at 56minsSubstituted forLangat 64'minutes
- 6CampbellBooked at 63mins
- 2GrimshawSubstituted forCarrollat 64'minutes
- 44ColeSubstituted forWhiteat 71'minutes
- 18WatersSubstituted forHaunstrupat 60'minutes
- 27TshibolaBooked at 32minsSubstituted forMulumbuat 76'minutes
- 7McKenzieSubstituted forBurkeat 89'minutes
- 12WhitehallSubstituted forKabambaat 77'minutes
- John Beaton
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Motherwell 0, Kilmarnock 2.
Offside, Motherwell. Jordan White tries a through ball, but Callum Lang is caught offside.
Substitution, Kilmarnock. Chris Burke replaces Rory McKenzie.
Jake Carroll (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Mitchell Pinnock (Kilmarnock).
Attempt saved. Alan Power (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Greg Kiltie with a headed pass.
Foul by Liam Polworth (Motherwell).
Greg Kiltie (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt blocked. Liam Polworth (Motherwell) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Callum Lang.
Attempt blocked. Kirk Broadfoot (Kilmarnock) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Mitchell Pinnock with a cross.
Corner, Kilmarnock. Conceded by Stephen O'Donnell.
Attempt blocked. Nicke Kabamba (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Mitchell Pinnock.
Attempt missed. Mitchell Pinnock (Kilmarnock) left footed shot from the right side of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Greg Kiltie.
Foul by Declan Gallagher (Motherwell).
Nicke Kabamba (Kilmarnock) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Substitution, Kilmarnock. Nicke Kabamba replaces Daniel Whitehall.
Substitution, Kilmarnock. Youssouf Mulumbu replaces Aaron Tshibola.
Attempt missed. Daniel Whitehall (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Greg Kiltie.
Foul by Callum Lang (Motherwell).