John Robertson's return to Tynecastle as Hearts boss was ruined as Motherwell beat them 1 0, thanks to a Richie Foran penalty.
Hearts new manager had gone with an attacking formation, playing three strikers and in the early stages it looked as though his boldness would be rewarded.
Both Mark De Vries and Jamie McAllister missed early headed opportunities and Alan Maybury fired an angled drive against the base of the post.
It took a fine double save from Gordon Marshall to keep out Paul Hartley's powerful 20-yard free-kick, but Motherwell gradually clawed their way into the game and Jamie Paterson forced a stunning save from Craig Gordon with a blistering 25-yarder.
However, the game turned on the 28th-minute penalty from which Motherwell scored the winner.
David Clarkson split the home defence with a fantastic through ball and as Martyn Corrigan prepared to shoot, Maybury clipped his ankles and sent him sprawling.
It looked a certain penalty but Hearts were incensed and they were even unhappier when Maybury was sent off for the challenge.
Despite the furore Foran somehow retained his composure and sent Gordon the wrong way from the penalty spot.
Hearts tried to regroup but rarely threatened Motherwell, apart from a De Vries volley which Gordon Marshall save comfortably.
After the break Gordon had to make fine saves to deny Paterson and Corrigan, before Foran missed a golden chance from eight yards when he hit the post with the goal gaping.
Hearts seemed intent on trying to win a penalty and Ramon Pereira was booked for a blatant dive, while De Vries thought he should have had a penalty for a shove by Stephen Craigan.
But Motherwell soaked up all that Hearts could throw at them and came out worthy victors to extend their winning streak to three matches.