Ross Stewart converted from the spot while Liam Donnelly failed from 12 yards to hand Motherwell a 1-0 defeat to Ross County in the opening fixture of the 2020/21 campaign in Dingwall.
Stewart scored clinically after a rash foul from Declan Gallagher. The captain protested he won the ball in challenging Harry Paton but we had no complaints about the decision.
In contrast Donnelly dragged his effort wide with 16 minutes remaining after Jordan White had been bundled over in the six-yard box.
While the running and chasing was there, composure and creativity was not and manager Stephen Robinson has plenty to consider before the visit of Dundee United on Saturday.
Top of his thoughts will be whether to continue to accommodate both Liam Polworth and David Turnbull in a 4-3-3 which initially neutered the contribution of the former.
Jake Hastie's place on the wing is also likely to be in danger after an error-strewn return to claret and amber. Sherwin Seedorf was much better as his replacement.
Chris Long had the first chance of the match when he blazed over a free kick but Trevor Carson touched Stewart's shot onto the bar from a tight angle as County took control.
Despite the hosts having more of the ball, our defence was relatively solid until Gallagher's lunge. Television suggested he might have made the faintest of contact with the ball but few onlookers would disagree with the penalty.
Stewart slammed the ball into the top corner with Carson well beaten on his return to first team action,.
Motherwell responded immediately but Long struck the post after being slipped in on goal.
An improved second half was aided by Callum Lang replacing Mark O'Hara to go up front and leave the midfielders to the midfield. The loan signing was set up by a superb cross from Seedorf midway through the half but headed straight at the keeper when a goal looked certain.
And we spurned an even better chance when Coll Donaldson bumped into White only for Donnelly to miss the target from the spot with the keeper going the wrong way.
Defeat was ultimately harsh on the balance of play but County took advantage of our errors and there is no one else to blame for the loss but ourselves.
Lang's late red card for a cynical foul should have only been a yellow but was a fitting end to a disappointing night.
Ross County 1 Motherwell 0
Team: Carson, Grimshaw, Gallagher, Lamie, McGinley, O'Hara (Lang 45), Donnelly, Hastie (Seedorf 59), Polworth, Turnbull (Watt 83), Long (White 71)
Monday 3 August 2020