Hutchinson was back on station as Kerr moved to the bench, otherwise we were unchanged. The Staggies switched ends after the toss and we kicked off facing the Cooper end. It was soon apparent that Motherwell were up for the game and Hateley's overlap and cross after a couple of minutes stated our intent.
We took control and pressed for the opener. It almost arrived after a Haletey corner was glanced goalward from Lasley's header. Brown's quick reaction kept the scores level and then, against the run of play, the visitors scored. Quinn unleashed a peach of a shot from over 25 yards and it gave Hollis no chance, finding the net off the bar.
Higdon turns to celebrate the first goal of the game
The lead was cancelled within ten minutes when Humphery set up a perfect chipped cross for Higdon. The big man rose to power a header though Brown's upstretched arms for the equaliser. We had a great chance to reach the break ahead on the half hour when Ojamaa an Lasley combined to set up Murphy for an unchallenged effort from 18 yards but the shot was scoped high.
Our first half showing deserved the lead but it was only delayed by a couple of minutes as Law's thirty yard run into the left side of the box produced a fine goal when he found the far corner of the net. Ross County have made a habit of recovering games and they set about the task with a Tokely header that forced a fine parry from Hollis.
Hateley had a fine free kick tipped over as we searched for the killer third goal but Quinn's deflected effort gave them hope. The game was level with 20 minutes left. Substitutions were made by both sides as the game raced towards a climax.
Humphrey had, again, been a major threat to the opposition defence and when Murphy released him in the 80th minute we grabbed the winner. Humphrey reached the dead ball line in front of the empty South Stand before cutting the ball back for Lasley to sweep home to Brown's left. All we had to do was to see out the final ten minutes.
County threw everything forward and deep into added time they came very close. Following a corner Hollis produced a goal saving fast reaction block before the referee's final whistle. As it blew Hammell and Hutchison rushed to congratulate the 'keeper for his efforts.
The win moves us to third on goal difference but cup duties now come to the fore as the team prepares for the replay on Tuesday.