Match ends, Ross County 3, Motherwell 1.
Manager Malky Mackay says his 10-man Ross County side were "galvanised" by Jordan Tillson's red card as they beat Motherwell to move five points clear of the Scottish Premiership's bottom two.
County took the lead when Sondre Solholm swiped into his own net before the visitors deservedly levelled with Jordan Roberts' fine 20-yard strike.
The game turned on Tillson's dismissal just before the hour, but the hosts rallied and regained the lead through Regan Charles-Cook, who then added a third from the spot.
"I'm delighted for them," Mackay said. "It was a tough first half. Getting the goal to go into half-time was terrific. The sending off galvanised us. Off the back of that, every time we broke we looked a real threat.
"I thought we defended really well. As a whole, the lads pulled together to make sure we went on to get a terrific win against a team flying high in the league."
The victory keeps Mackay's side 10th, but they are now seven points clear of the foot of the table.
County have been guilty of getting themselves involved in basketball-like encounters this season, but Mackay's side started this one in cagey fashion as Motherwell dominated the ball.
The visitors created little with it, though, but began to show more threat when Kevin van Veen had a near-post effort blocked before Solholm's header looped over.
County were dealt two blows when winger Joseph Hungbo and midfielder David Cancola had to come off injured. And they almost found themselves behind to go along with that bad fortune when Barry Maguire and Van Veen both had strikes from outside the area drift just wide of the right-hand post.
But out of nowhere, the home side gained the lead in first-half stoppage time when the influential Charles-Cook beat Bevis Mugabi on the left before cutting inside and seeing an effort swiped in by Solholm.
In a similar theme to the first half, the away side enjoyed the majority of the ball as they searched for a route back into the game, but were struggling to create until Roberts' stunner.
Van Veen broke up the left and fed a ball across, allowing Roberts to take a touch and rifle a strike into the top-right corner.
The game looked to have turned when Tillson saw red for a two-footed challenge on Liam Donnelly, but the 10 men of County found another gear.
The hosts capitalised on cheap Motherwell defending as Dominic Samuel's cross could only be cleared as far as Charles-Cook, who finished low past Liam Kelly.
And the County winger sealed an unlikely three points when a cross off Mugabi's hand allowed the Grenada international to slot a penalty home.
Man of the match - Regan Charles-Cook
What did we learn?
To survive in this unforgiving league you need players to stand tall when the chips are down, and Mackay has that in abundance.
After Roberts' equaliser and Tillson's red card, it looked like the game would only go one way. But County dug in and showed immense bravery to take the game to the 11 men of the visitors.
Motherwell have had days like this with Tony Watt in the side, but Alexander's men were wasteful in their first game following the departure of their former attacking talisman.
But a lot of that poor attacking play was in the Fir Park side's approach, with hopeful high balls a constant route to goal.
More slack defending will also concern Alexander, an issue that will have to be addressed if the Lanarkshire club have any hope of remaining in the league's top four.
What did they say?
Motherwell manager Graham Alexander: "We threw the game away. We were completely dominant right up to half-time. We had good opportunities to score and started the second half in same fashion.
"The red card for them softened us up mentally. We played worse when they went down to 10 men and allowed them to play better. That's what happens when you take it easy."
Both sides are in Scottish Cup action on Saturday (15:00 GMT) as Motherwell host Championship side Morton and Ross County go to fellow Premiership club Livingston.
- 4CancolaSubstituted forTillsonat 29'minutesBooked at 59mins
- 23HungboSubstituted forSamuelat 19'minutes
- 17Charles-CookBooked at 60minsSubstituted forRamsayat 82'minutes
- 26WhiteSubstituted forBurroughsat 82'minutes
- 2O'DonnellBooked at 63mins
- 21Solholm Johansen
- 6MaguireSubstituted forShieldsat 78'minutes
- 7WoolerySubstituted forAmaluzorat 87'minutes
- 9van Veen
- 28RobertsBooked at 60mins
- John Beaton
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Ross County 3, Motherwell 1.
Attempt missed. Bevis Mugabi (Motherwell) header from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Connor Shields with a cross following a set piece situation.
Nathan McGinley (Motherwell) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Kayne Ramsay (Ross County).
Corner, Ross County. Conceded by Nathan McGinley.
Substitution, Motherwell. Justin Amaluzor replaces Kaiyne Woolery.
Foul by Stephen O'Donnell (Motherwell).
Jack Burroughs (Ross County) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Offside, Ross County. Connor Randall tries a through ball, but Ross Callachan is caught offside.
Corner, Ross County. Conceded by Connor Shields.
Foul by Bevis Mugabi (Motherwell).
Dominic Samuel (Ross County) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Substitution, Ross County. Jack Burroughs replaces Jordan White.
Substitution, Ross County. Kayne Ramsay replaces Regan Charles-Cook.
Offside, Motherwell. Sondre Solholm Johansen tries a through ball, but Kevin van Veen is caught offside.
Attempt missed. Sondre Solholm Johansen (Motherwell) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left following a corner.
Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Jake Vokins.
Goal! Ross County 3, Motherwell 1. Regan Charles-Cook (Ross County) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the bottom left corner.
Penalty conceded by Bevis Mugabi (Motherwell) with a hand ball in the penalty area.