Match ends, Kilmarnock 1, Motherwell 2.
Lee Erwin's second goal of the season capped a Motherwell come-back against Kilmarnock that takes the Steelmen seven points clear of St Mirren.
The 21-year-old remained cool under pressure to hit a left-footed shot past Craig Samson.
Youngster David Syme headed in to get the first day of regime change at Kilmarnock off to a positive start.
But Stephen Pearson tucked home an equaliser for Motherwell, who defended bravely after Erwin's winner.
It was a day of firsts at Rugby Park; Gary Locke in the dug-out as manager now in an official capacity and Jim Mann beginning his rule as Killie chairman.
But it didn't stop there. The hosts' 17-year-old centre-back Syme scored his first senior goal in his home debut, which was duly cancelled out by Pearson's notching his first Motherwell goal since returning to the club for a second stint.
And, crucially, Erwin scored for the first time since the opening day of the season, twisting and turning in the box to puncture the hosts' day.
Both clubs were eager for positives in Ayrshire. Kilmarnock desperate to mark regime change with a crowd-pleasing win, while Ian Baraclough's Steelmen knew three points would increase the gap between them and basement side St Mirren to seven.
Josh Magennis had already stung the palms of Motherwell goalkeeper George Long with a shot before the on-loan Sheffield United man blundered to help Killie take the lead.
The Englishman flapped when Paul Cairney's free-kick arrived from the left, allowing Syme to head home firmly - the youngster's goal a perfect way to start afresh for Kilmarnock.
Long's lack of confidence continued between the Motherwell sticks and so did the home side's attacking intentions; referee Euan Anderson not of the view that a reinvigorated Chris Johnston had been fouled as he slalomed into the box.
Syme and his 21-year-old central defensive partner Lee Ashcroft - captain in Manuel Pascali's absence - were eventually breached after some good approach play from a useful looking Erwin.
Lionel Ainsworth's low angled drive would probably have been gathered but Pearson sneaked in on the six-yard box to re-direct it into the bottom corner - a nice way for the man with 10 Scotland caps to celebrate his new two-year deal at Fir Park.
Ashcroft missed a glorious headed chance to restore Kilmarnock's lead on the stroke of half-time and Motherwell's McDonald was denied by the crossbar from 18 yards on the hour-mark.
Ainsworth made use of his fierce right-foot to test Samson again before Erwin got what he deserved; showing composure in the box to drill low into the goal behind which a healthy Motherwell band of supporters celebrated.
- 36SymeBooked at 79mins
- 10JohnstonSubstituted forEremenkoat 80'minutes
- 11CairneyBooked at 66minsSubstituted forKiltieat 80'minutes
- 16ObadeyiBooked at 72mins
- 9MillerSubstituted forEcclestonat 69'minutes
- 18LawBooked at 31mins
- 45LaingBooked at 62mins
- 7AinsworthSubstituted forCarswellat 82'minutes
- 48PearsonBooked at 29mins
- 47GrantSubstituted forSuttonat 58'minutes
- 19ErwinSubstituted forRamsdenat 89'minutes
- Euan Anderson
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Kilmarnock 1, Motherwell 2.
Substitution, Motherwell. Simon Ramsden replaces Lee Erwin.
Attempt missed. Lee Erwin (Motherwell) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right.
Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Ross Barbour.
Stephen McManus (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Josh Magennis (Kilmarnock).
Attempt saved. Josh Magennis (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.
Substitution, Motherwell. Stuart Carswell replaces Lionel Ainsworth.
Substitution, Kilmarnock. Alexei Eremenko replaces Chris Johnston.
Substitution, Kilmarnock. Greg Kiltie replaces Paul Cairney.
David Syme (Kilmarnock) is shown the yellow card.
Lee Erwin (Motherwell) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by David Syme (Kilmarnock).
Goal! Kilmarnock 1, Motherwell 2. Lee Erwin (Motherwell) left footed shot from the left side of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Scott McDonald.
Attempt saved. Tope Obadeyi (Kilmarnock) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner.
Attempt saved. Scott McDonald (Motherwell) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.
Corner, Motherwell. Conceded by Lee Ashcroft.
Tope Obadeyi (Kilmarnock) is shown the yellow card.
Tope Obadeyi (Kilmarnock) has gone down, but that's a dive.