ROSS County had to hold on tight to survive a Motherwell second half fightback in order to win 3-2 in the Ladbrokes Premiership on Saturday.
A brace from man of the match Michael Gardyne and a goal from Davis Keillor-Dunn, who has just agreed a two-year extension, had the Staggies coasting 3-0 at the break.
However, the introduction at the start of the second half of Ryan Bowman and Ellliot Fraser began to turn the tide as the latter set up the former for a goal on 47 minutes.
Louis Moult's 12th goal of the season with 11 minutes left made fingernails be bitten all around the Global Energy Stadium, but County dug deep to walk off with the points and move into eighth position.
Betfred Cup finalists Motherwell started the game in a positive fashion and Moult had the ball in the net, but the offside flag was raised.
Craig Tanner then went close for the visitors and Charles Dunne saw his looping header come off the top of the crossbar.
However, County upped their game and set up by Andrew Davies, who missed last week's 2-1 loss at Aberdeen due to a back spasm, Gardyne guided the ball low past goalkeeper Trevor Carson.
There was now a real energy about the hosts and they were 2-0 up on 26 minutes when Keillor-Dunn rifled a right-foot shot into the net from the edge of the 18-yard box.
Motherwell looked rattled and they conceded again when Gardyne crashed the ball home from close range after Cedric Kipre prevented Jim O'Brien from scoring with a block on the goal-line.
Many would have felt that was job done and the Lanarkshire men knew they needed a goal quickly.
They got it two minutes into the second half when Bowman headed Frear's cross past McCarey.
Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson, who was serving a touchline ban, would have been thrilled to see his double switch pay off so swiftly and emphatically.
Moult pounced to head a Chris Cadden cross into the net on 79 minutes but, despite their best efforts, the visitors could not find a way through again and the Dingwall team walked off with the maximum points.
County return to competitive action a week on Saturday when they host British record-breakers and leaders Celtic.
The Hoops' 4-0 win at St Johnstone took them into uncharted terrority when they broke their own 100-year record by racking up their 63rd straight domestic game without a loss as well as moving three points clear of Aberdeen, who were held 2-2 by Hamilton.
The Staggies will take in Championship neighbours Caley Thistle this Wednesday in a special friendly derby, with Maggie's Highland, which supports people with cancer and their loved ones, set to benefit. Tickets for this are set at £5 and kick-off is at 7pm.
Ross County: McCarey, Fraser, Naismith, Routis, Kelly, Gardyne, Curran (Mikkelsen 90), Davies, Draper, O'Brien (Lindsay 75), Keillor-Dunn (Dow 67). Subs not used: Munro (GK), Chow, Schalk, Mckay.
Motherwell: Carson, Tait, Bigirimana, Hartley, McHugh, Moult, Cadden, Tanner (Petravicius 61), Rose (Bowman 46), Dunne (Frear 46), Kipre. Subs not used: Griffiths (GK), Grimshaw, Fisher, Campbell.
Referee: Euan Anderson.